SEC Award Winners Announced

HOOVER, Ala. (May, 22, 2017)—–The Southeastern Conference on Monday announced its 2017 Baseball Awards and All-SEC Teams, recognizing standout performances from this season. The 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament will be played Tuesday through Sunday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker was named the SEC Player of the Year, Kentucky’s Sean Hjelle is the SEC Pitcher of the Year, Texas A&M’s Braden Shewmake is the SEC Freshman of the Year, Kentucky’s Nick Mingione is the SEC Coach of the Year and Kentucky’s Zach Logue is the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Rooker leads the SEC in several offensive categories, including batting average (.415), hits (85), RBI (73), home runs (20), doubles (28), slugging percentage (.873) and total bases (179). He is the first Mississippi State player to reach 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 70 RBI, and the first SEC hitter to do so since 2000.

Hjelle is 9-2 this season with a 3.17 ERA, including a 7-1 mark in SEC action with a 1.90 ERA. His nine wins this season move him into a tie for 6th place on Kentucky’s single-season wins list. Hjelle has allowed one earned run or less in six of his last seven starts and has given up six or fewer hits in his last 12 starts.

Shewmake is a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree, and he is batting .342 with 39 runs, 16 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 64 RBI. He ranks second in the SEC in RBI, fourth in hits and fourth in total bases.

Mingione was named SEC Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. Kentucky’s 38 wins on the season are the most since 2012, and 38 wins are the most for a first-year Kentucky head coach. Kentucky finished second in the Eastern Division and earned the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament.

Logue has earned a 3.96 GPA in Chemical Engineering at Kentucky. He is a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, and he is 6-5 with a 5.03 ERA and has 76 strikeouts in 77.0 innings this season.

2017 SEC Baseball Awards
Player of the Year: Brent Rooker, Mississippi State
Pitcher of the Year: Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
Coach of the Year: Nick Mingione, Kentucky
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Zach Logue, Kentucky

First-Team All-SEC
C: Grant Koch, Arkansas
1B: Brent Rooker, Mississippi State
2B: Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
3B: Jordan Rodgers, Tennessee
SS: Ryan Gridley, Mississippi State
OF: Greg Deichmann, LSU
OF: Tristan Pompey, Kentucky
OF: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
DH/UT: Michael Curry, Georgia
SP: Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt
*SP: Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
*SP: Alex Lange, LSU
RP: Logan Salow, Kentucky

Second-Team All-SEC Team
C: Troy Squires, Kentucky
1B: Evan White, Kentucky
2B: Riley Mahan, Kentucky
3B: Colby Bortles, Ole Miss
*SS: Kramer Robertson, LSU
*SS: Jax Biggers, Arkansas
OF: Jonah Todd, Auburn
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
OF: Chandler Taylor, Alabama
DH/UT: JJ Schwarz, Florida
SP: Alex Faedo, Florida
SP: Brady Singer, Florida
RP: Michael Byrne, Florida

Freshman All-SEC Team
C: Hunter Coleman, Texas A&M
1B: Andre Lipcius, Tennessee
2B: Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
3B: Josh Smith, LSU
SS: Cam Shepherd, Georgia
OF: Carlos Cortes, South Carolina
OF: Zach Watson, LSU
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas
DH/UT: Logan Foster, Texas A&M
SP: Ryan Rolison, Ole Miss
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SP: Eric Walker, LSU
RP: T.J. Sikkema, Missouri

SEC All-Defensive Team
C: Michael Papierski, LSU
1B: Evan White, Kentucky
2B: Deacon Liput, Florida
3B: Josh Smith, LSU
SS: Dalton Guthrie, Florida
OF: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
OF: Jonah Todd, Auburn
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
P: Brigham Hill, Texas A&M

* – Denotes a tie in voting. Ties are not broken.

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SEC Midseason Report; National Notes

SEC MIDSEASON REPORT CARD:
The second half of the SEC baseball schedule begins this weekend. The first half had many compelling story lines and the second half should be just as entertaining.

The SEC has 10 teams in the Top 40 of the latest NCAA RPI rankings. Seven teams are in the Top 25. Kentucky is the only SEC team with a Top 10 RPI. http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/baseball/d1/rpi

Arkansas (29-8, 11-4 SEC), Auburn (27-11, 10-5 SEC), Kentucky (25-12, 10-5 SEC) and Miss. State (25-13, 10-5 SEC) appear to be the midseason favorites to host NCAA Regionals. LSU (25-12, 9-6 SEC), Florida (24-12, 8-7 SEC), South Carolina (22-13, 8-7 SEC) are certainly in the mix for host sites.

The SEC had an NCAA record four national seeds and seven NCAA hosts sites in 2016. Continue reading “SEC Midseason Report; National Notes”

SEC Baseball Recaps (April 14)

Tennessee and Arkansas post walk-off wins; all was Wright in Nashville as Commodores even series with Gators;  Jason Delay scores both runs in Vandy’s 2-0 win; Ole Miss uses long ball to even series at LSU; Colby Bortles and Nick Fortes hit back-to-back home runs in fourth inning; Brent Rooker hits solo home run in first inning; has homered in all five SEC series; South Carolina 0-3 in SEC home openers this season; all the news and notes from Friday night in SEC. Continue reading “SEC Baseball Recaps (April 14)”

Big Crowds and Milestone Wins

RECORD-SETTING CROWDS:
Missouri and Georgia played in front of 33,025 fans at the first college game at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta on Saturday, April 8. It was the second-highest attended college baseball game in history and the highest-attended SEC game in history. The largest crowd in NCAA history took place on March 11, 2004 when San Diego State posted a 4-0 win over Houston at Petco Park in San Diego. The two teams played in front of an NCAA record 40,106 fans.

The SEC drew 179,813 fans for 21 conference games over the weekend.  The teams averaged more than 8,000 fans per game. There were five games in excess of 10,000 fans last weekend.  On Saturday, 89,743 fans watched seven SEC games. In addition to the record-setting crowd in Atlanta, Miss. State drew 13,691 for the middle game of Super Bulldog Weekend, Arkansas had 11,827 fans for its game with LSU, and Ole Miss packed in 10,247 for its walk-off win over Alabama. Continue reading “Big Crowds and Milestone Wins”

SEC Recaps (Saturday, April 8)

Brent Rooker continues torrid pace with 3-home run game; Missouri and Georgia play in front of second largest crowd in NCAA history at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta; seven SEC games drew 89,743 fans on Saturday; Tennessee wins second straight 1-run, extra-inning game at Florida; first series win over Gators since 2008; Tate Blackman gives Ole Miss walk-off win over Alabama; Texas A&M and MSU overcome three-run, first-inning deficits; here are the recaps from Saturday’ SEC slate. Continue reading “SEC Recaps (Saturday, April 8)”

SEC Baseball Previews (April 6-9)

The college baseball schedule reached the midway point this week. There are still more questions than answers as the SEC heads into the fourth weekend of conference play.

Auburn (23-7, 7-2 SEC) and Arkansas (23-6, 7-2 SEC) lead the SEC Western Division through nine games. Neither team qualified for the 2016 SEC Tournament in Hoover. Auburn has won all seven series this season, including SEC series with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The Tigers are equaled their overall win total from last year. AU finished 23-33 in 2016.  Arkansas has won is first three SEC series with Miss. State, Missouri and Alabama (the latter two on the road) and has equaled its conference win total from last season.

Kentucky (22-6, 7-2 SEC) sits alone atop the SEC Eastern Division standings after nine games. UK lost its only SEC Tournament game and failed to make NCAA Tournament last year. Kentucky swept a three-game series at Texas A&M to open league play and then posted back-to-back home series wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt the last two weeks. Kentucky opened the season 0-4 under first year head coach Nick Mingione. UK is 21-5 since losing its first four games.

The weekend gets underway tonight at Missouri faces Georgia in Athens and Vanderbilt travels to South Carolina for a pair of Thursday through Saturday series. Continue reading “SEC Baseball Previews (April 6-9)”