Few college programs can rival Vanderbilt when it comes to producing top professional pitchers. Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, and David Price, are just a few ex-Commodores that have pitched and enjoyed success at the highest level. Little more than one month into his collegiate career, an ex-Dirtbag is making his case to join Vanderbilt’s long linage of elite arms.
From Hendersonville, Tenn., former Dirtbag Mason Hickman shined over the weekend in a key Southeastern Conference showdown, helping No. 9 Vanderbilt to a series victory over No. 21 LSU. In the series’ rubber match, Hickman pitched a seven-inning shutout on Sunday, leading Vanderbilt to a 1-0 victory.
Holding LSU to just two hits, Hickman struck out nine batters against two walks. The efficient 89-pitch outing led to Hickman earning SEC Pitcher of the Week honors, and moved Vanderbilt to 17-7 on the season, 5-1 in conference play.
Improving to a perfect 5-0, Hickman continued a strong rookie season in Nashville. The scoreless outing lowered Hickman’s ERA to 2.08, the best among Vanderbilt starters, through 26 innings. Behind 28 strikeouts, opponents are batting just .180 against the right-handed pitcher, mustering out only 12 singles and four doubles in 89 at-bats. Hickman ranks first in the SEC in wins, fourth in opponent’s average, and 10th in ERA.
Hickman was a part of the Dirbags’ 2016 World Wood Bat Association World Championships champion team, named the tournament’s Co-Most Valuable Pitcher, after tossing 8.2 scoreless innings, striking out 11 batters against one walk.