Credit: Mississippi State Athletics
Mississippi State’s Luke Hancock and Colton Ledbetter are two of 25 players selected to the Preseason All-SEC baseball teams by the league’s coaches. Hancock was named second team catcher, while Ledbetter was named a second team outfielder.
Hancock, a senior for the Diamond Dawgs and the team captain, started and appeared in all 56 games during the 2022 season. He finished the season with a .279 batting average and had the fifth most hits on the team with 60. He drove in 32 runs and had seven home runs. He had an on-base percentage of .406, the highest on the team.
Since joining the Diamond Dawgs in 2019, Hancock has appeared in 158 games with 144 starts. He boasts a career .272 batting average with 141 hits, 112 RBIs, 94 runs scored, and 17 home runs. One of the most notable aspects of Hancock’s game is his ability to battle at the plate, making opposing pitchers run up their pitch counts and avoiding strikeouts more often than not. He averaged just one strikeout in every 10.8 at-bats last season to lead the SEC and rank 43rd nationally.
Last season for Samford, Ledbetter was named to the second team SoCon Baseball Coaches All-Conference team. He also earned SoCon All-Tournament Team honors after setting a new SoCon record for most RBI in the conference tournament. He hit .318 last season and led Samford with 67 hits, 16 home runs, and 57 RBIs.
He had 22 multi-hit games as well as 13 multi-RBI games. Last season against Western Carolina, Ledbetter went 3-for-4 with two home runs and nine RBIs in a 17-6 win. Ledbetter picked up a five-hit contest with nine RBIs against Western Carolina in the SoCon Tournament. Two of his five hits in the SoCon Tournament game were long balls.
The 2023 season gets underway on Feb. 17 when the Diamond Dawgs host VMI in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville. First pitch for the season opener is set for 3 p.m.
Mississippi State’s 56-game schedule features 33 home games, 16 road contests, and seven neutral-site matchups. The schedule features a pair of lengthy homestands, as Dudy Noble Field hosts an 8-game homestand to open the campaign (Feb. 17 – 26), followed by nine straight home games from March 21-April 4.