STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen simply shook his head last year with his starting sophomore shortstop not getting an all-conference honor.
In 2013, Cohen expressed his displeasure with the same decision being made Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference released its league baseball honors. MSU junior shortstop Adam Frazier was not named to either the first or second team All-SEC teams despite three total shortstops being named to those squads.
“I really felt like Frazier deserved to be an All-SEC shortstop,” Cohen said. “I know there are a lot of considerations and know there are three clubs in our league that didn’t see him play.”
The All-SEC honors, which is selected by a vote of the conference’s 14 head coaches, included Louisiana State University freshman Alex Bregman as the first-team selection after he batted .378 with five home runs and 49 RBIs. University of Alabama freshman Mickey White and Texas A&M University senior shared second-team shortstop recognition. White leads the Crimson Tide with a .286 batting average heading into the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. He hit .350 in 29 conference games. Reynolds leads Texas A&M with a .343 batting average, 38 runs and 18 stolen bases and has 12 doubles, one triple, one home run and 24 RBI in 57 games. In league play, he hit .292 with 15 runs, seven doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and five steals.
Frazier was named to the All-SEC defensive team as a shortstop but was left off the first and second team list for the second year in a row. Frazier, who Baseball America has ranked as the second best Division 1 college shortstop prospect in next week’s draft, compiled a team-high .352 batting average with 30 RBI and an SEC third-most 90 hits while leading the SEC with 210 assists.
Under SEC policy, coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players and the voting results are not made public.
“I’m not taking anything away from the kids that did make it but I certainly felt like Adam was very deserving,” Cohen said. “It’s kind of unfortunate. It’s nobody’s fault, but I’m disappointed.”
MSU (43-17) garnered a school-record six postseason SEC honors Tuesday including junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe and sophomore relief pitcher Jonathan Holder being named to the All-SEC first team.
Renfroe leads Mississippi State with a .352 batting average, 54 RBI and shares the SEC lead with 15 home runs. Holder sports a 1.00 earned run average and shares the SEC lead with 16 saves.
Junior second baseman Brett Pirtle was accorded second team All-SEC honors after hitting .310 in the Bulldogs cleanup spot and has assisted with 39 of Mississippi State’s 69 double plays.
“How many big hits has (Pirtle) gotten for us this year?,” Cohen asked hypothetically Monday. “In some respects, some of our kids are smaller kids, but they’re great at-bat guys. They do a great job of situational hitting and getting to first base. All those things are critical, especially when the game dictates now that on-base percentage and eliminating the average fly ball are the things that create offense for you.”
Frazier and Renfroe, were named to the SEC All-defensive Team while senior infielder Sam Frost was tabbed as the SEC scholar athlete of the year.
Vanderbilt University, who earned a league record 26 conference wins, had two individual season award winners. Commodores junior second baseman Tony Kemp was selected 2013 SEC player of the year after leading the league in hitting, on-base percentage, runs and stolen bases. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin was named SEC Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a regular season title and a No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. LSU sophomore Aaron Nola was named SEC pitcher of the year and Bregman was named SEC Freshman of the Year by a vote of the league’s 14 head baseball coaches.
n McClanahan to start: It didn’t take very long for the University of Central Arkansas to name its starting pitcher for the opener of the school’s first ever NCAA regional.
UCA coach Allen Gum immediately named senior right hander Caleb McClanahan (10-5, 2.17 ERA) will face top seed MSU in the second game Friday at 7 p.m.. The senior first-team All-Southland Conference selection came back on two-days rest in Saturday morning’s semifinal win over Oral Roberts University.
“Caleb’s been really good about that,” Gum said. “Just come right at them, here it is.” And I tell you, the rest of the staff, the ones that have done really well, have just followed his lead. He’s just been a horse for us. I”m proud as heck for him.’
In the only contest MSU won in the three-game series on March 8-10 at Dudy Noble Field, the Bulldogs attacked McClanahan in the second time through the batting order while building a 4-0 lead.