JACKSON, Miss., May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Mississippi State's slugging outfielder Brent Rooker, who compiled one of the best offensive seasons in Division 1 baseball and one of the most prolific in school history, won the C Spire Ferriss Trophy Monday as the Magnolia state's best college baseball player.
Rooker, who led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in hitting with a .408 batting average, 82 hits, an .871 slugging percentage and a .514 on base percentage with 20 homers, 72 RBIs and 18 stolen bases, edged out a trio of Southern Miss players – Dylan Burdeaux, Taylor Braley and Matt Wallner – and Delta State slugger Zach Shannon to win the 2017 award.
The players and coaches were honored at a special awards luncheon co-hosted by C Spire and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. This was the first year following the death last fall of Dave "Boo" Ferriss, the award's namesake, a Magnolia state baseball legend, a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and a long-time Delta State head baseball coach.
Rooker, a redshirt junior from Germantown, Tenn., said he was humbled to receive the award, especially since Ferriss spent a lifetime coaching, developing and befriending players and helping them launch careers in professional baseball. "Mr. Ferriss was a great player and coach, but he was an even better person. He will always mean so much to college baseball in Mississippi."
Mississippi State head baseball coach Andy Cannizaro said Rooker has helped his team compete for an SEC division title and secure a 34-22 winning record, including a 17-13 mark in the SEC. "Rook brings a next level thought process and game plan each and every day he comes to the ball park," Cannizaro said. "It's been incredible watching him hit and perform this year."
Voters for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy included Major League Baseball scouts who cover Mississippi in their territory and Mississippi's college baseball coaches. For the fourth time in the award's history, a weighted 10 percent of the final vote came from fan voting conducted by C Spire last week.
Rooker also finished first in the fan voting with 1,728 votes, almost twice as much as Southern Miss infielder Burdeaux, who received 991 votes. Braley finished third with 550 votes. Over 3,500 votes were cast online, via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging for the five finalists during the six-day fan voting.
Shannon, the Delta State finalist, did not attend Monday's presentation. He was playing for the Statesmen in the NCAA Division II Tournament regional in Cleveland, Miss. Mississippi State outfield Jake Mangum won the 2016 C Spire Ferriss Trophy.
2017 marks the 22st anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards program. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 20 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men's college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women's college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the series.
"This was an exciting year for college baseball in Mississippi with several of our teams ranked during the year and several in post-season play. For its size, Mississippi has some of the best baseball talent in the world and today's finalists drove that reality home once again," said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire. "Our congratulations go out to all the players, their families, the schools and teams who were honored today."
About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.
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SOURCE C Spire