James McMahon Wins 2015 C Spire Ferriss Trophy as Magnolia State’s Top College Baseball Player
Southern Miss pitcher tops four other finalists from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Jackson State and Millsaps College for honor
Jackson, Miss., (May 18, 2015) – Southern Miss pitcher James McMahon, a finalist for National College Pitcher of the Year, won the 2015 C Spire Ferriss Trophy Monday as the top college baseball player in Mississippi this season.
McMahon, a 6-foot, 1-inch senior right-hander from Oak Grove, had one of the best overall seasons in school history. Heading into this week’s Conference USA tournament, McMahon is 11-1 with a 1.72 earned run average (ERA), finishing the regular season with 55 strike outs, 21 walks and an opponents’ batting average of .203. Southern Miss won 13 of the 14 games he started this year.
The players and coaches were honored at a special luncheon co-hosted by C Spire and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. McMahon beat out four other finalists, including Mississippi State first baseman Wes Rea, Jackson State infielder Melvin Rodriguez, Millsaps pitcher-infielder Keith Shumaker and Ole Miss pitcher Scott Weathersby, who was McMahon’s teammate when they played high school baseball together at Oak Grove.
Preliminary voting was done by a panel of 24 experts, including Major League scouts and college coaches. They selected the five finalists. The same panel then voted again, accounting for 90 percent of the final vote. For the second time in the award’s history, ten percent of the final vote came from fan voting conducted by C Spire. McMahon also finished first in the fan voting.
McMahon led Southern Miss Ole Miss to a 35-16 regular season record and third place finish in the Conference USA baseball standings. The team won 13 of the 14 games he started this year and enters the tournament on a 13-game winning streak.
This was McMahon’s first year as a starting pitcher for Southern Miss. He had a 3-2 record and a 6.04 ERA as a reliever entering his senior season. At the end of his junior season, McMahon asked to switch to a starting role and prepared by pitching in a summer league.
Southern Miss head baseball coach Scott Berrry said McMahon’s transition from reliever to starter has been inspirational. “James has been absolutely almost flawless on every start. He’s no longer the sprinter that I wanted him to be. He’s the marathon runner who starts strong and paces himself to finish strong.”
McMahon becomes the second Southern Miss player to win the Ferriss Trophy, which is named after 93-year-old Mississippi baseball legend Dave “Boo” Ferriss, who played for Mississippi State and the Boston Red Sox and was the long-time head baseball coach at Delta State. Outfielder Tyler Koelling was the first Golden Eagle baseball player to receive the award in 2011. Ole Miss outfielder Auston Bousfield won the award in 2014.
“Thanks to my family, all of my teammates, coaches and everyone involved at Southern Miss and the Golden Eagle nation,” McMahon said in accepting the award. “It took a lot of hard work to reach this point and it means a lot to me, especially knowing our state’s rich baseball tradition and the legacy of Coach Ferriss.”
2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards program. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 18 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 C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.
“This was another solid year for baseball in Mississippi. For its size, Mississippi has some of the best baseball talent in the world and today’s award finalists drove that reality home once again,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire. “Our best wishes and congratulations go out to all the players, their families, the schools and teams who were honored today.”
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