Mississippi State Bulldogs News: Brent Rooker Up For Player Of The Year

May 24, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) works out during OTAs at the Star in Frisco. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) works out during OTAs at the Star in Frisco. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Mississippi State is preparing for the Super Regionals this weekend, Brent Rooker is up for National Player of the Year, and Dak Prescott credits Mississippi State for the success he is having. All of that and more here to enjoy on a late Thursday afternoon!

Let’s dive right in.

College baseball: Four finalists for 2017 Dick Howser Trophy announced – NCBWA

Brent Rooker continues to put together one of the most impressive individual seasons in SEC baseball history. So, naturally, the accolades, awards, and recognition continue to pile on for the Mississippi State slugger. Rooker has been named a finalist for the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy, rewarded to the best player in college baseball. From the release:

"Pitcher J.B. Bukauskas of North Carolina, Louisville P/1B Brendan McKay, Mississippi State 1B Brent Rooker and Oregon State pitcher Jake Thompson are the four finalists for the prestigious 31st annual awarding of the Dick Howser Trophy.First baseman Rooker of Germantown, Tennessee, was the 2017 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year with a .395 batting average, 23 home runs, 82 RBIs and NCAA-DI-most 30 doubles. The first team All-America choice is bidding to become the conference’s first Triple Crown (average, homers, RBI) winner since Rafael Palmeiro of MSU in 1984.Rooker also has committed just one error in 419 total fielding chances at first base and is among SEC leaders in stolen bases with 18 in 23 attempts. His .827 slugging percentage tops the conference for the 40-25 Bulldogs of coach Andy Cannizaro as they travel to LSU for the 2017 NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional."

2017 All-American Teams – Baseball America

In addition to being named a finalist for the Howser Trophy, Rooker learned that he was named an All-American by Baseball America. Shocker.

"1B Brent RookerMississippi StateAn all-Southeastern Conference honoree a year ago, Rooker raised his game in his redshirt-junior season. He was the SEC player of the year and hit .395/.498/.827 with 23 home runs and 18 stolen bases, leading the country in slugging percentage and ranking second in hits. Rooker led Mississippi State to super regionals for the second year in a row."

Next: Rooker Eyeing Triple Crown

LSU preparing once again for Mississippi State slugger Brent Rooker – Andrew Lopez, The Times-Picayune

Aside from all the accolades, Brent Rooker looks to help lead Mississippi State to a huge series win this weekend in Baton Rouge. LSU recognizes how good Rooker is:

"“You look at this guy’s season and it’s just unbelievable, the things that he’s done,” LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn said. “But what’s probably just as important as that is the guys around him. You keep those guys off bases, then you have a much better chance to keep runs off the board. You got to manage the whole lineup.”LSU coach Paul Mainieri said how the game is going will dictate how the team pitches to Rooker and likened to how Mississippi State pitched to Greg Deichmann and how LSU handled Chad Spanberger in the SEC Tournament."

LSU vs. Mississippi State is more than just a Super Regional – Ron Higgins, The Times-Picayune

The Mississippi State/LSU baseball rivalry is one of the more heated rivalries in college baseball. This weekend will feature two of the SEC’s premier programs for a trip to Omaha.

"When LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and his team take the field Saturday night to open an NCAA Super Regional against long-time SEC rival Mississippi State, Alex Box Stadium will be packed and rocking.Mainieri knows why such an atmosphere is something he experiences at least once every SEC regular season weekend.It’s recognition of the two schools that lifted the sport of baseball off the trash pile and made it one of the SEC’s crown jewels playing in home palaces that replaced outdated, dumpy venues."

Next: Diamond Dawgs to the Supers!

8 players who could decide the LSU-Mississippi State Super Regional – Andrew Lopez, The Times-Picayune

Yeah, this weekend is big. Who will be the key players in the SEC West showdown?

Lopez ranks Rooker as the second most important player in the series.

"2. Brent Rooker, 1B, MSURooker was the SEC Player of the Year and LSU coach Paul Mainieri called him a possible Golden Spikes Award winner after his season. Entering the Super Regional, Rooker is hitting .395 with 23 home runs and 82 RBI. He has 30 doubles this season and a .498 on-base percentage.In the previous series vs. the Tigers, Rooker went 7-for-13 but LSU did a good job of limiting the damage Rooker could do by keeping men in front of Rooker off base. He finished with two RBI in the series.Rooker is still one of the most dangerous hitters in the country and the way the lineup works around him will dictate how LSU pitches to the first baseman throughout the Super Regional."

How will the Bulldogs fair against Lange?

"5. Alex Lange, RHP, LSUIn the first matchup between the schools, LSU took home a 3-1 victory in part because of the strong performance by Lange.The junior right-hander went seven innings and allowed six hits and only one run – a leadoff home run – and shut down Mississippi State after he allowed the bases to get loaded in the sixth and seventh innings.If Lange or Jared Poche can get LSU off to a solid start (LSU coach Paul Mainieri hasn’t announced his pitching rotation as of yet), things will be much easier for the remainder of the weekend."

After Pilkington, who is in line to start for Mississippi State in super regional? – Will Sammon, The Clarion-Ledger

Okay, so Konnor Pilkington is the guy on the mound; but, who else can be relied on this weekend? Sammon takes a look. Can Billingsley build on the momemtum he created against Southern Miss?

"It will be hard, Cannizaro said, not to give the Sunday start to Billingsley.“Extremely,” Cannizaro said. “Anytime you can hand the ball to a pitcher in a regional championship game and he goes out there and gives you nine innings like he did the other day, he is screaming for the opportunity to get the ball again.”While that makes for a strong case, Billingsley was the fourth arm MSU went to in the regional. That is because Billingsley has battled control issues this season and had a 5.15 ERA before his last start.On the other hand, though, Billingsley has shown signs of improvement, especially with his command of his two-seam fastball and slider. He allowed three runs in five innings in his start against Arkansas in the SEC Tournament. Cannizaro said he will need to check-in with Billingsley to gauge how the right-hander’s body has recovered. Billingsley threw one inning and didn’t allow a run against LSU in the regular season series."

Dak Prescott has mastered art of leadership, looking for doctorate – Todd Archer, ESPN

In the midst of college baseball, here is some football related news to close things out. Dak credits Mississippi State for some of the things he has learned to become successful. Very nice work by Archer.

"His job is as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, but what he is putting to use are tools he learned in the classrooms at Mississippi State.In a recent interview with the Talk of Fame Network, Prescott said he would like to earn his Ph.D. in psychology. He earned his bachelor’s in educational psychology, and in his final year in college earned a master’s in workforce leadership.There’s a reason Prescott’s command and presence have been lauded so much in his early stages as the Cowboys’ quarterback.He studied the art of leadership."