Alexander living his dream

Belmont's Luke Alexander has started 18 games at shortstop as a true freshman. (Mississippi State)

Belmont’s Luke Alexander has started 18 games at shortstop as a true freshman. (Mississippi State)

As a youngster growing up in Belmont, Luke Alexander idolized Mississippi State middle infielders Jeffrey Rea and Adam Frazier.

Alexander even remembers wearing No. 7 in Little League because it was Rea’s number.

These days, Alexander can be found roaming the same infield and donning the same jersey as his childhood heroes.

“To be in the same Mississippi State jersey as those guys is just humbling,” Alexander said.

The switch-hitting shortstop made headlines by committing to the Bulldogs as an eighth grader in 2011. Even then, schools such as LSU and Ole Miss were already recruiting him but backed off once he made his commitment.

“I just knew that State is where I wanted to go,” Alexander said. “Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to play for State. I came to games and the atmosphere here was unreal. As soon as they offered, I knew this was where I wanted to go.”

After five years of waiting, Alexander was finally able to make his dream come true. He debuted as the starting shortstop in MSU’s season opener against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 19.

“It was awesome to be the opening day starter at shortstop,” Alexander said. “At first I was a little nervous but I just thought ‘this is baseball, it’s a kid’s game’. I just started to relax and have fun. I took a moment on the field to think that this was five years in the making and I’m actually out here. It was a pretty surreal moment.”

Not only did Alexander play flawlessly in the field that day but also slugged a solo home run to right during the eighth inning.

Alexander has gone on to start in 18 of the 21 games in which he has played and committed just two errors all spring. He is hitting .214 with a double, homer, seven RBIs and two stolen bases.

“I’m just doing what I can as a freshman to try and win ballgames,” Alexander said. “That’s my mindset. It’s not what I can hit or trying not to make errors. It’s just all about helping Mississippi State.”

Alexander feasted on pitchers throughout the state during his five varsity seasons at Belmont, where he was a three-time All-American and All-State selection. As a senior, Alexander batted .505, stole 20 bases, scored 36 runs and drove in 25 more en route to being named the Class 3A Player of the Year.

However, Alexander had to make some adjustments upon arriving in Starkville to gain the attention of his college coaches to earn the starting job.

“Everybody is great,” Alexander said. “It’s the best of the best. You have to do something extra just to stand out and be noticed. That’s the big key.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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