Photo courtesy Kelly Price/MSU Athletics
The day after the regular season ended, Monday, May 22, turned out to be a great day for Mississippi State University first baseman Brent Rooker. He is in the midst of one of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of college baseball in our state.
Rooker became the first MSU player to be named SEC Player of the Year. He is leading the conference in batting average at .415, total bases with 179, hits with 85, RBI with 73, doubles with 28 and home runs with 20.
The Germantown, Tenn., native is second in the conference in stolen bases with 18 steals out of 23 attempts.
But it isn’t just the SEC that Rooker is leading or near the top with his statistics.
He is first in the nation in slugging percentage at .873, total bases and doubles, second in batting average, third in RBI, fourth in home runs and on-base percentage, and seventh in the nation in hits.
Rooker was named First Team All-SEC and is the second MSU first baseman to be named All-SEC in the last two seasons. Last season, Nathaniel Lowe earned First Team All-SEC at first base.
Short stop Ryan Gridley joins Rooker on the First Team All-SEC, and outfielder Jake Mangum landed on the Second Team All-SEC. Mangum landed on the All-Defensive team as well.
Rooker beat out a trio of players from the University of Southern Mississippi and one from Delta State University for the 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy. He is the sixth MSU player to win the award in the 14 years it has been handed out.
Every winner for the Bulldogs has come in back-to-back years. Thomas Berkery was the first MSU player to win the award in 2006, and Ed Easley won in 2007. Chris Stratton took home the trophy in 2012, and Hunter Renfroe won in 2013.
Rooker’s current teammate, Mangum, took home the award last season. The University of Mississippi has produced five winners, Southern Miss has two past winners, and Belhaven University has one winner.
Taylor Braley, Matt Wallner and Dylan Burdeaux of USM, and Zack Shannon of DSU of were the other 2017 Ferriss Trophy finalists. Rooker led the fan-voting with 1,728 votes, Burdeaux ended up second with 987 votes, Braley ended up third with 548, Shannon landed in fourth with 197 votes, and Wallner came in fifth with 57 votes.