May 16, 2017 10:14:15 AM
JACKSON -- Mississippi State redshirt junior Brent Rooker was selected Monday as a finalist for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top college baseball player in Mississippi.
The other finalists are Southern Mississippi's Taylor Braley, Matt Wallner, and Dylan Burdeaux and Delta State's Zach Shannon.
A panel of Major League Baseball scouts that covers Mississippi and college baseball coaches in Mississippi chose the finalists. The award will be presented May 22 at a ceremony at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson.
Rooker has led the Southeastern Conference in several offensive categories for much of the season. His 20 home runs are first in the SEC and in top five nationally. He also leads the SEC in batting average, RBIs, doubles, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and total bases. He has been named SEC Player of the Week three times this season.
The Germantown, Tennessee native was also named to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list in addition to being named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week twice. Rooker earned NCBWA Hitter of the Week honors twice and Player of the Month for the month of March.
Jake Mangum won the award in 2016. The Bulldogs haven't had back-to-back winners since Chris Stratton and Hunter Renfroe won the award in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Burdeaux is in the top 10 in at least seven categories at Southern Miss for his career, is hitting .352 with a team-best 19 doubles, nine home runs, and a Conference-USA high 60 RBIs. The only player to start in every game for the Golden Eagles also leads the country in hits (86).
Braley, who was a standout at Oak Grove High School, is hitting .335 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs, and 47 RBIs. He also has drawn a league-high 49 walks, which ranks third on the Golden Eagle single-season chart. On the mound, he is 5-2 with a 3.48 earned run average in 11 starts. He has thrown six or more innings eight times, and is third on the squad in strikeouts with 64 in 67 1/3 innings.
Wallner is hitting .330 average with a team-best 15 home runs and 49 RBIs. His home run total is the most by a Southern Miss freshman. His RBI total is four of tying the school's freshman record. On the mound, he is 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA and three saves in eight relief appearances.
Shannon leads the Gulf South Conference in batting average (.415), RBIs (88), RBIs per game (1.65), hits (88), home runs (18), total bases (155), slugging percentage (.795), and on base percentage (.515). Nationally, he is first in RBIs, second in RBIs per game, fourth in batting average and hits, and sixth in slugging percentage and total bases. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native was named the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, first-team All-GSC, and was voted the GSC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player
Fans get the opportunity to help in the selection of the winner through the C Spire site at csopavoting.com. Fans can vote by providing a name and email address, or by connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, fans can vote three times daily by selecting their first, second and third place choices via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.
The fan vote will count for 10 percent of the final tally with the trophy being awarded at a luncheon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum beginning at 11:30 a.m. May 22. Fan voting is open and will continue until noon Saturday.
Tickets for the event are on sale at www.msfame.com.
Rooker and MSU will play host to Troy at 6:30 tonight at Dudy Noble Field.
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