Three University of Southern Mississippi players, one Mississippi State University player and one Delta State University player are the five finalists for the 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy. This is the 14th year that the award will go to the best college-baseball player at a four-year college or university in Mississippi.
Southern Miss is enjoying an outstanding season on the diamond, as the team has already wrapped up the regular-season title in Conference USA. At the beginning of the final weekend of the regular season, USM is 41-12 overall and 22-5 in conference play.
Taylor Braley, Matt Wallner and Dylan Burdeaux are the impressive trio of finalists from USM. All three have performed well in the batter’s box, but Braley and Wallner have shined on the pitcher’s mound as well.
Burdeaux leads the team in hitting with a .355 batting average with 88 hits, 61 RBI, 55 runs, 21 doubles and nine home runs. He has started 53 games for the Golden Eagles, which shows his toughness during the long season.
Braley is hitting .337 with 61 hits, 50 RBI, 46 runs, 12 home runs and 10 doubles while making 52 starts. He is 2-0 as a pitcher in eight appearances with a 1.84 ERA and 15 strikeouts.
Wallner has appeared in 53 games and made 52 starts this season and is hitting .335 with 63 hits, 50 RBI, 43 runs, 15 home runs, 12 doubles and two triples. On the mound, he owns a 5-2 record with 11 starts and a 3.48 ERA while piling up 64 strikeouts.
If MSU is going to win the West, the team will need superstar Brent Rooker to have one of his best series of the season. Rooker has led the nation at various points in multiple statistical categories.
He is hitting an outstanding .406 with 78 hits, 71 RBI, 49 runs, 26 doubles, 20 home runs and three triples. He has started 53 games this season and leads the team in nearly every major offensive stat.
Delta State is set to host an eight-team regional in the 2017 NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament beginning on Thursday, May 18, and the team is top-ranked in the South Region. DSU is Gulf South Conference regular season and tournament champion, as the team is 41-11 overall and 25-8 in conference play.
The Statesmen feature Zack Shannon, who is terrorizing opposing pitching this season. He is hitting .451 with 88 hits, 84 RBI, 60 runs, 18 home runs, 11 doubles and one triple. Shannon has dabbled on the mound this season with a 0-1 record and five appearances with a 1.50 ERA and seven strikeouts.
College coaches in the state and professional scouts chose these five finalist . Fan voting, which accounts for 10 percent of the final totals, will help decide the winner.
Fans can vote for a player at csopavoting.com from noon on May 15 to the same time on May 20. The winner will receive the award 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 22, at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.