STARKVILLE — After the best turnaround in Southeastern Conference history, the honors rolled in for the Mississippi State University baseball team Monday.
John Cohen was named SEC Coach of the Year, while Jake Mangum was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
Mangum became the first freshman to win the 2016 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, presented to the best college baseball player in the state of Mississippi and named after former Bulldog pitcher Dave M. “Boo” Ferriss.
“The ceremony was amazing,” Mangum said of being presented with the Ferriss Trophy at Cleveland Country Club. “Getting to meet Boo Ferriss was really, really special. Being able to do it with two of your teammates, it makes it even better. There are so many people that deserve that award, so many people that deserve to be there, it meant a lot and it was special.”
Mangum won the Ferriss trophy over teammates Dakota Hudson and Reid Humphreys, and Ole Miss’ J.B. Woodman, and Delta State’s Will Robertson.
After finishing last in the SEC with an 8-22 league record and 24-30 overall to miss the postseason in 2015, the Bulldogs won the SEC outright for the first time since 1989 with a 21-9 mark. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 1 in three polls, No. 2 in one poll and No. 3 in two polls, finished the regular season with a 40-14-1 record and are in line to be a national seed in the NCAA tournament.
Cohen becomes the second coach to win the award with multiple schools. Ron Polk won the award three times with MSU (1979 ,1985 and 1989). He won the award with Georgia in 2001. Cohen, who now has 601 career wins, led Kentucky to a co-SEC championship in 2006 to win the award.
Mangum, who leads the SEC and is third in the NCAA with a .427 batting average, becomes the first Bulldog to win SEC Freshman of the Year and the fifth to win the Ferriss (Thomas Berkery, Ed Easley, Chris Stratton and Hunter Renfroe). The outfielder has 73 hits, nine doubles, three triples, one home run and 25 RBIs.
The Pearl native was named to the All-SEC first team and All-Freshman team. He becomes the first Bulldog freshman named an All-SEC performer since Jay Powell was named to the second team in 1991 and first on the first team since Rafael Palmeiro did so in 1983.
Joining Mangum on the first team are first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, utility player Jack Kruger and right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson. Utility player Brent Rooker was named to the second team.
This is the sixth time MSU has had five players earn All-SEC honors (1949, 1971, 1977, 1988 and 1989).
After throwing his second-straight complete game shutout against Arkansas on Thursday, Hudson was honored as SEC Pitcher of the Week for the third time. He allowed five hits and two walks and struck out 10.
No. 2 MSU, who earned the top seed, plays the winner of eighth-seeded Kentucky and ninth-seeded Alabama 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait
Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.
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