Konnor Pilkington won’t be returning to the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League this summer. That’s because he’s accepted an even greater honor.
Mississippi State announced Wednesday that the former East Central standout and current Bulldog ace has accepted an invitation to join USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to represent Mississippi State and USA Baseball on the Collegiate National Team,” Pilkington said in a release. “The chance to compete for Team USA is an honor and a privilege. It will be a great opportunity to compete against the best during the summer, which will only help in my development as a pitcher under Coach (Andy) Cannizaro and Coach (Gary) Henderson. I can’t wait to represent our program and all of Bulldog Nation as a member of Team USA.”
Pilkington has helped MSU advance to this weekend’s Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Super Regional under Cannizaro, a first-year head coach.
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In a must-win game Sunday in Hattiesburg, Pilkington helped lift Mississippi State to a 5-4 victory against Illinois-Chicago, striking out nine while allowing four runs on four hits and two walks in seven innings. The performance helped the left-hander eclipse 100 strikeouts for the season. He enters this weekend’s best-of-three series at LSU with an 8-5 record and a 3.26 ERA. He’s also limited opponents to a .198 batting average.
The sophomore Coast native is the first MSU player named to Team USA since Adam Frazier in 2012 and eighth Bulldog overall, joining Will Clark (1984), Brad Hildreth (1986), B.J. Wallace (1992), Carlton Loewer (1993), Eric DuBose (1995) and Matt Ginter (1998).
Team USA will train in Carey, North Carolina, and compete in a series of games with the Coastal Plains League from June 22-26 before hosting an international friendship series against Chinese Taipei and Cuba June 27-July 7.
Before Pilkington dons the red, white and blue, he still has unfinished business in maroon. The LSU-MSU series will run Saturday-Monday, with the first two games starting at 8 p.m.