From the rubber Christian MacLeod, a redshirt freshman pitcher from Huntsville, Alabama, controlled the game for the Mississippi State University baseball team on the Saturday game against Wright State, where they won 6-2.
MacLeod was the starting pitcher who debuted on Saturday by pitching the first five innings. During those five innings, he totaled 11 strikeouts while only allowing one walk and one hit.
"He was awesome,” head coach Chris Lemonis said. “I'm so happy to see him back out there. It's been a long year since he hasn't pitched. We knew he was pretty special, but now everyone else gets to see it on the main stage."
Christian Ferguson MacLeod played baseball before and during all four years of high school and redshirted his freshman year at Mississippi State.
MacLeod performed Saturday with the same consistency his former high school head coach Davis Sharp spoke of him having for years.
“You could watch him pitch, and he was always super composed. He never got too high if he got a big strikeout and never let it affect his emotions if he thought an umpire missed calls,” Sharp said. “He just pitched at an even keel. As you watched him this past Saturday, it was the same way, he just got to the next pitch and the next and just did what he does.”
MacLeod played under Sharp from eighth grade through his senior year, totaling five years playing with the same coach. MacLeod lettered during all five years of playing. Sharp mentioned MacLeod’s older brother played for him too, so he was familiar with that family for a long time.
Although he was not named team captain until his senior year of high school, his talent was recognized much earlier.
"At an early age, you could tell, on the mound, as a left-hander, he really had the chance to be a good player,” Sharp said. “As a sophomore, it was obvious that his mechanics and his command on the mound was just elite for a young kid."
MacLeod was sick last year and had to sit his first year. Coach Lemonis was asked about this in the post-game interview Saturday and sai he hates for that to happen, especially to redshirts like MacLeod.
Although he got a late start to his university career, the confidence shown by MacLeod was undeniable during his start on Saturday’s game.
"I've been waiting for a long time, just about my entire life,” MacLeod said. “Sitting out last year made everything today bittersweet. A really humbling experience out there today. I really enjoyed it."
Both his current coach, Chris Lemonis, and his high school coach, David Sharp, mentioned the discipline MacLeod has and how that was represented in how he changed his body.
“Man, he works,” Lemonis said. “He changed his body and he’s here every day putting in the work and you see it out there between the lines.”
Christian MacLeod has already received many distinctions among his peers this early in his career. Twice, he has been selected by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as an All-American, which he earned as a high school junior and senior. His high school coach spoke highly of him both on and off the field.
"I know there's a cliché out there that says 'If you think he's a good player, he's an even better person,'” Sharp said. "In this case, it is 100% the case. He is a big-time arm on the mound, but I can assure you that he is a better human being than a pitcher. He is the kind of young man that you want to have success."