May 20, 2009
Danny P Smith -
Mississippi State freshman left-hander pitcher Nick Routt had a knack for going the route this season.
Southeastern Conference coaches thought enough of Routt''s efforts to vote him Tuesday to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
Routt was the only Bulldog to make the all-league teams.
MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson wasn''t surprised Routt was honored because he had four complete games, all in the SEC.
"With his consistency and maturity, I think every player, coach, and fan thought every time Nick went out they had a feeling of what they were going to get," Thompson said. "For a freshman to throw four complete games in the SEC and go into the ninth on a fifth one, there are guys who play their whole career in the SEC and never match that in a season."
Routt (5-3, 4.15 ERA) had his best outing in a 12-strikeout, nine-inning 8-3 victory against Auburn on April 4. His fourth consecutive complete game came April 11 at Tennessee. The others were March 21 at Georgia and March 29 at Arkansas.
Thompson said MSU doesn''t play games for awards, but was he happy to see Routt recognized.
"I think Nick would be the first to say how much better he can get," Thompson said. "It''s nice for him to get this notice for his hard work and the year he had."
No one in the league had a better year than University of Alabama outfielder Kent Matthes, who was a unanimous choice for Player of the Year. Coaches weren''t permitted to vote for their players, so a unanimous selection earned 11 of the 12 first-team votes.
Matthes has tied Alabama''s single-season home run mark with 27. He is hitting .362 and leads the league with an .883 slugging percentage.
"He''s just put it all together," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "He didn''t play a lot as a freshman, but he started the last two years."
Five Alabama players made the All-SEC first team with Matthes, second baseman Ross Wilson, third baseman Jake Smith, shortstop Josh Rutledge, and pitcher Austin Hyatt.
Those players have helped Alabama to a 37-17 record.
The Crimson Tide plays South Carolina at 8:30 tonight in the final game of the SEC tournament''s opening day.
University of Mississippi outfielder Jordan Henry also was named first team All-SEC. Pitchers Scott Bittle and Drew Pomeranz represented the Rebels on the second team.
Alabama outfielder Taylor Dugas joined Routt on the All-Freshman Team, while Wilson and Smith of the Crimson Tide made the All-Defensive Team.
LSU''s Louis Coleman, a Mississippi native from Schlater, was the Pitcher of the Year, while Florida''s Preston Tucker and LSU''s Matty Ott were Co-Freshmen of the Year, Auburn''s Ben Jones was Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and LSU''s Paul Mainieri was Coach of the Year.