Ole Miss outfielder Ryan Olenek wins fan voting portion of 2018 C Spire Ferriss Trophy honoring Mississippi's top college baseball player

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JACKSON, Miss., May 19, 2018 – Ole Miss outfielder Ryan Olenek, who is leading the SEC in hitting with a .382 batting average, was the top vote getter and winner of the fan voting segment of the 2018 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which annually honors the top college baseball player in Mississippi, it was announced Saturday.

Ole Miss outfield Ryan Olenek, who is leading the SEC in hitting with a .382 batting average, was the top vote getter and winner of the fan voting segment of the 2018 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which annually honors the top college baseball player in Mississippi.
Ole Miss outfield Ryan Olenek, who is leading the SEC in hitting with a .382 batting average, was the top vote getter and winner of the fan voting segment of the 2018 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which annually honors the top college baseball player in Mississippi.

Olenek, a junior from Winter Park, Florida, received 5,077 votes from fans, which counts for a weighted 10 percent of the award.  Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum, who won the award in 2016 as a freshman, finished second with 3,290 votes and Delta State infielder Zach Shannon, a two-time finalist, finished third with 1,682 votes.   

Finalists and the ultimate winner of the award are chosen by the state's college baseball coaches and a panel of Major League Baseball professional scouts.   This year's overall winner will be announced at a special awards luncheon on Monday at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson, Miss. 

Over 11,200 votes were cast for the five finalists online and via social media and text messaging during the six-day fan voting period, the second highest total since fan voting was allowed for the first time in 2014.  The past two winners of the award sponsored by C Spire and the MSHOF have been Mississippi State outfielders Brent Rooker (2017) and Mangum (2016).   

Olenek, who is ranked 27th in hitting in all of Division 1 college baseball, had a 23-game hitting streak earlier this season with 74 hits, 17 doubles, 3 home runs, 26 RBIs and eight stolen bases.  He leads the team in hits and doubles and has a .419 on base percentage and a .513 slugging average.

The other two finalists who received fan votes were two Southern Miss players – infielder Luke Reynolds and pitcher Nick Sandlin.  Reynolds received 849 votes while Sandlin garnered a total of 350 votes.

Tickets are available for Monday's awards luncheon, including full tables seating 8 persons for $350 each along with reserved seating, half tables and individual tickets.  Coaches and finalists are expected to attend the luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m. For tickets or more information, go to msfame.com or call 601.982.8264.

This is the fifth time in the award's 23-year history that fan voting has been allowed for the prestigious award.  “We have some of the most passionate college baseball fans in the country and this gives them a way to have their voice heard in choosing Mississippi's best college baseball player,” said Bill Blackwell, executive director of the MSHOF.

The award is named after 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.  Ferriss made college baseball popular and relevant with his superior coaching skills and experience and his outgoing personality with players and fans.

2018 marks the 23rd 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 women's college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the series.

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class customer-inspired service and a superior comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses.  This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.

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Bob Allen

Bob Allen

Bob Allen is The Daily Telescope''s senior editor. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in Los Angeles and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com. He also has served as a journalist and consultant on documentaries for NPR and ShowTime. In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media. He was also a finalist for UCLA's Gerald R. Loeb Award and Syracuse University's Mirror Award. Before becoming a journalist in 2006, Sirota worked in Washington for, among others, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Minority Staff and the Center for American Progress.
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