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Five Finalists Named for 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy


Players from three different schools bid to be Magnolia State’s top college baseball player; winner will be announced at May 22 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame awards luncheon

Jackson, Miss., May 15, 2017) – Two slugging outfielders, two pitchers and an infielder are among the five finalists for the 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which honors the top college baseball player in Mississippi. The award will be presented at a luncheon on Monday, May 22 in Jackson.

Chosen by Major League Baseball scouts, who cover Mississippi, and by Mississippi's college baseball coaches, the finalists include three Southern Miss players and one each from Mississippi State and Delta State. The finalist include Delta State's Zach Shannon, Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker and Taylor Braley, Matt Wallner and Dylan Burdeaux of Southern Miss.

The scouts and coaches, whose votes count for 90 percent of the total, will make their choice this week from among the five finalists. Fan voting, which begins today at and concludes on Saturday, will account for a weighted 10 percent of the final tally. The winner will be announced at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame luncheon.

Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum won the 2016 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which is named for the late Dave “Boo” Ferriss, a Magnolia State baseball legend, a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and long-time Delta State head baseball coach.

The Ferriss Trophy will be a celebration of an amazing season of Mississippi baseball. Southern Miss and Mississippi State are nationally ranked and will likely host an NCAA Tournament Regional. Delta State won the Gulf South Conference championship, is ranked No. 1 overall and begins play this week hosting a regional in the NCAA Division II tournament.

Former Ole Miss standout and coach Don Kessinger, who starred at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, will be the featured speaker at the C Spire Ferriss Trophy luncheon.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Taylor Braley, Southern Miss pitcher, infielder, Jr., Hattiesburg: Hit .335 with 11 home runs and 47 runs batted in and has a 5-2 record with an earned run average of 3.48. Struck out 64 batters and walked 19 over 67.1 innings. Opponents hit .258 against him.
  • Dylan Burdeaux, Southern Miss infielder, outfielder, Sr., West Monroe, LA.: Hit .352 with 86 hits, nine home runs and 60 runs batted in. Slugging percentage of .541 and on base percentage of .417.
  • Brent Rooker, Mississippi State outfielder, Jr. Germantown, TN.: One of the nation’s leading sluggers, Rooker hit .406 with 25 doubles, three triples, 20 home runs and 68 runs batted in. Had .893 slugging percentage and .513 on base percentage.
  • Zach Shannon, Delta State pitcher, infielder, Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio: Hit for Gulf South Conference-leading.451 average with 18 home runs and 84 runs batted in. Sports a .795 slugging percentage and a .515 on base percentage.
  • Matt Wallner, Southern Miss outfielder, pitcher, Fr., Forest Lake, Minn.: Hit for .330 average with 12 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 49 runs batted in. Slugging percentage of .659 and .457 on base percentage. Has a 2-0 record with a 1.84 earned run average in 14.2 innings of relief.

Tickets are $40 each and available by calling the MSHOF offices at 601.982.8264 or by going online at

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 in women’s college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series, which are jointly presented by the company and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.