SEC Tabs Mississippi State Baseball’s Tanner Allen Player of the Year

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2021

STARKVILLE – For the second time in the last four seasons, the SEC Player of the Year hails from Mississippi State, as junior Tanner Allen was named the conference’s top player and five total Diamond Dawgs earned honors from the conference office on Monday (May 24).

With Allen’s player of the year award, Mississippi State has captured six specialty awards in the last five seasons, including Brent Rooker’s Southeastern Conference Player of the Year award in 2017. Ethan Small (Pitcher of the Year) and JT Ginn (Freshman of the Year) each won an award in 2019, and John Cohen (Coach of the Year) and Jake Mangum (Freshman of the Year) each won an award in 2016.

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Allen was also tabbed first-team All-SEC to give State a first-team honoree in eight of the last nine years, with 16 total selections over that span.

The second-team All-SEC squad included Rowdey Jordan (OF) and Landon Sims (RP), while the SEC All-Newcomer team had three Bulldogs as a part of it: Sims, Will Bednar and Logan Tanner. The All-Newcomer list was formed for the 2021 season to honor those freshmen that played their first season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allen has been at his best against the best in college baseball, as the left-handed hitter led the SEC in overall batting average (.387) and was the only SEC hitter to finish with a average over .400 in SEC play (.411). Allen produced 25 multi-hit games and 17 multi-RBI contests this season and reached base multiple times in 36 of 52 games played. Allen was the only SEC student-athlete to rank among the top-10 in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, RBIs, total bases and hits in the regular season.

On the season, Allen hit .300-or-better against eight of 10 SEC opponents, including a .400 average against Auburn, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. He hit .500 against Missouri and .615 in three games at South Carolina. In conference play, Allen was on base in 29 of 30 games with a conference-leading 16 multi-hit and 12 multi-RBI contests. The left-handed hitter led the SEC in conference-only average (.411), hits (51) and total bases (87). He was the only SEC hitter to post a .400 average and 50 hits in conference only games in 2021.

Allen one of two Power 5 hitters – and one of four nationally – to produce at least 50 runs scored, 70 hits and 50 RBIs in the regular season. Allen currently sits among the top 35 nationally in hits (No. 6; 79), triples (No. 9; 5), runs scored (No. 26; 53), total bases (No. 28; 126) and batting average (No. 35; .387).

Jordan was one of two Southeastern Conference hitters to reach base safely in all 30 SEC games this season and ended the year hitting .333 in conference only games with a SEC-leading 34 runs scored versus conference foes. He ranked No. 4 in SEC play with a .469 on-base percentage, which included 39 hits, 19 walks and 11 hit-by-pitch to just 17 strikeouts.

Overall, Jordan carries a 38-game reached base streak into the postseason, which is the fourth longest single season streak at MSU since 2002. He has 16 multi-hit and nine multi-RBI games and is riding a career-long 12-game hitting streak. Overall in 2021, Jordan has 63 hits, 38 RBIs and a team-best 57 runs scored. His .315 batting average is bolstered by a .431 on-base percentage.

Sims started the season with a monster outing against Texas in the series opener with four perfect innings of relief and 10 strikeouts and did not slow down. He finished the season as one of the most dominant bullpen arms in the nation. Overall, Sims owns a .049 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 37 innings of work. He limited opponents to a .120 batting average  on his way to a 3-0 record and eight saves. Two wins and four saves came against ranked opponents and seven of his eight saves came in SEC play. Of his 111 outs recorded, 66% came via strikeout.

Of his 17 appearances, Sims did now allowed a run of his own in 15 of those and stranded five of eight inherited runners on the season. He held opponents to one-or-fewer base runners in 10 of the appearances and factored into 11 decisions. In his 17 appearances, Mississippi State won 16 games he pitched in. Sims did not hit a batter during the regular season and threw just two wild pitches.

In SEC play, Sims owned 12 appearances with a 0.36 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings of work. He allowed only one run on nine hits with nine walks in SEC appearances. Hitters posted a .108 batting average and just one hit went for extra bases in SEC play.

In his first full season on campus, Bednar was up to the task in his first tour through the SEC with his six victories against conference teams ranking just behind the SEC leaders (five tied with 7). In 10 starts in the SEC, Bednar was a part of two shutouts and owned a 3.27 ERA in 55 innings of work. He struck out 83 batters – including four double-digit strikeout games – walked just 16 and SEC competition hit only .229 against the right-hander.

Overall, Bednar is closing in on becoming the 25th MSU pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts in a single season as he has fanned 97 in 62 innings of work. He allowed just 20 earned runs over 13 appearances and help opponents to a .217 batting average. He walked just 16 and hit only four batters to post a 2.90 ERA, which was No. 8 among SEC pitchers this season. His 14.08 strikeouts per nine innings pitched ranks No. 9 nationally.