MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Former National Pitcher of Year Ethan Small is back at AutoZone Park with the Nashville Sounds getting the chance to play inside of the park where he fell in love with the game.

“I came to Redbirds games all the time as a kid,” said Small. “Just a feeling of kind of like nostalgia, I guess just being here as a kid, enjoying games. Then got to play here in college against Memphis.”

Small, a former Mississippi State star had to overcome Tommy John surgery before going on to become the SEC Pitcher of the Year down in Starkville.

“Had to come out of it, learn how to pitch again, went from throwing hard to not as hard.”

Small’s perseverance came to fruition in his first MLB start last month for the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Those guys, our guys over here, it’s what everybody dreams about. And having accomplished that, it’s just really, really important. My family, my wife, everybody, we’ve all sacrificed a ton of time and traveling.”

The Jackson, TN native has made 10 starts this season with the Sounds and is second on the team in strikeouts with 54. He’s ready for his next call up to the Majors.

“The biggest thing is like you’re competing against the other team, but it almost feels like a fight with yourself to get better every time you’re out there because in the minor leagues it’s all about for me, I just feel like I’ve got to get better here to be effective up there at some point.”

The Redbirds host the Sounds Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at AutoZone Park.