MSU's Rooker chosen SEC Player of the Year

MSU's Brent Rooker
Staff Writer

What Mississippi State has felt all along became official on Monday.
Brent Rooker is the best there is in the Southeastern Conference.
Rooker, MSU’s junior slugger, was selected by the league as the SEC Player of the Year on the same day he also took home the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which is the award given to the best college baseball player in the state of Mississippi.
“I not only think he’s the state’s best player, I think he’s the best offensive player in America this year,” MSU head coach Andy Cannizaro said of Rooker. “I think his offensive numbers show that.”
Rooker is the first player in Mississippi State history to ever win the SEC Player of the Year Award. He did so by hitting at a .415 clip this season with 20 home runs and 73 RBI. Rooker’s 28 doubles were the most in a single season in MSU history. He led the conference in most offensive categories all season long.
“In terms of what he’s done this year, he’s had the best statistical season in America this year,” Cannizaro said of Rooker. “He’s hitting. over .400 with 20 home runs and 28 doubles and 70-something RBI and 18 stolen bases. He is a first-team All-American to me. If you put up those kinds of numbers in this league, you deserve to win every single award you are up for.”
Rooker’s production also garnered himself a first-team All-SEC selection. He was joined on the All-SEC first team by teammate, shortstop Ryan Gridley. Gridley hit .326 this season and is tied for second on the team with six homers. He had the second-most RBI on the club with 38.
“He’s an extremely confident player and he believes he’s the best shortstop in America,” Cannizaro said of Gridley earlier this year. “He’ll tell you that too, which I love. I love the fact he has that kind of confidence about his own ability because it allows him to go out there and play well each and every day and help us win ballgames.”
MSU sophomore center fielder Jake Mangum was picked to the All-SEC second team. Mangum was second, only to Rooker, with a .330 batting average for the Bulldogs this season. He was also second to Rooker in doubles (15) and hits (77).
Mangum also earned a place on the SEC All-Defensive Team.
“Jake Mangum is a stud,” Cannizaro said earlier this season.. “He is a bonafide superstar in college baseball right now.”
Rooker, Gridley and Mangum will all get the chance to add to their impressive seasons starting Tuesday. MSU begins play in the SEC Tournament at approximately 8 p.m. against Georgia.