USM’s Sandlin wins Ferriss Award

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi pitcher Nick Sandlin was honored Monday as the best collegiate baseball player in Mississippi.

Sandlin, the Golden Eagles' junior right-hander who was converted from lockdown closer to lights-out starter, was named the 2018 C-Spire Ferriss Trophy winner.

The award, named for long-time Delta State University baseball coach David "Boo" Ferriss, is given annually to the state's most outstanding college baseball player.

Sandlin became the third Golden Eagle to win the award, joining pitcher Jamie McMahon in 2015 and outfielder Tyler Koelling in 2011.

In his first collegiate season as a starting pitcher, the Evans, Ga., native, has posted an 8-0 record with 1.25 earned run average in 13 starts.

In 86 1/3 innings, Sandlin has logged 122 strikeouts to 14 walks and opposing hitters are batting just .156 against him.

Sandlin was among five finalists for the award this year, and the lone pitcher. Other finalists included USM teammate, third baseman Luke Reynolds, University of Mississippi outfielder Ryan Olenek, Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum and DSU first baseman Zack Shannon.

Sandlin was named last week a semifinalist for the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy, awarded annually to college baseball's top player nationally by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Reynolds was honored Sunday as Conference USA Hitter of the Week for the final week of the regular season.

It marked the third time this season that Reynolds had won C-USA's weekly award.

Reynolds, who is hitting .403, hit safely in all four of USM's games last week, helping the Golden Eagles to a 3-1 record, including a first-ever sweep at Marshall University.

Seventeenth-ranked USM (39-15) locked up a second-consecutive regular-season C-USA championship with a win in Thursday's opener with the Herd.

The junior from Forest hit .643 (9-for-14) in the four games, with a .773 on--base percentage and 1.214 slugging percentage.

In 22 plate appearances, he reached base 17 times. Reynolds had two, three-hit games and drove in two runs in three of the games.

In the regular-season finale, Reynolds went 3-for4 with three runs scored and two RBIs, swatting his team-high 15th home run.

Top-seeded USM will open the 2018 C-USA Baseball Tournament at 4 p.m. Wednesday, taking on eighth-seeded University of Alabama-Birmingham (21-31) at MGM Park in Biloxi.