By David Brandt
JACKSON – Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said it’s hard to appreciate the excellence of Auston Bousfield after watching just one game or even one series.
Instead, it was 56 games of sustained greatness at the plate and in the field that made the junior outfielder the best college baseball player in the Magnolia State.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Bousfield beat out four other finalists to win the C Spire Ferriss Trophy on Monday afternoon. He’s the first Ole Miss player to win the award since pitcher Drew Pomeranz in 2010.
“There’s really not a weak spot in his game,” Bianco said. “When you look at the whole package, that’s the reason he won the award. He’s not just a home run hitter, and he’s not just a fast guy with a good batting average. He’s a guy who does it all.”
Bousfield hit .353 during the regular season with five homers and 45 RBIs, helping the Rebels win the Southeastern Conference Western Division title. He also stole 16 bases and made only one error while starting every game in center field.
Bousfield, a native of Oakland, Florida, has usually hit second in an Ole Miss lineup that includes veterans Will Allen, Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis. The Rebels are batting .304 as a team, which is tied with Kentucky for tops in the SEC.
“There are a ton of guys who have done a lot to help us win,” Bousfield said. “It takes everybody on the team and it helps having those guys behind me. If I don’t get the job done, they’ll get it done behind me.”
The other finalists were Ole Miss pitcher Chris Ellis, Mississippi State pitchers Ross Mitchell and Jacob Lindgren and Belhaven first baseman/pitcher Tyler Akins.
A panel of 24 Major League Baseball scouts and college coaches account for 90 percent of the final vote. Ten percent comes from fan voting.
Now Bousfield will lead the Rebels into the SEC Tournament this week in Hoover, Alabama. The Rebels earned the No. 2 seed and a bye into Wednesday’s second round, where they will face the winner of Arkansas and Texas A&M.
“We have a lot of older guys who have been through the SEC and the ups and downs that can happen,” Bousfield said. “I think we’re ready mentally as well as physically with the ability of our offense. It should be fun and I hope we keep playing well.”