13 May

crushing it

Your first thought as you watch the highlight footage of Brent Rooker’s walk-off home run on Friday night is, “Wow, he got all of that one.” Rooker, the ex-Mississippi State slugger, crushed a line drive to left field at Oakland Coliseum for a three-run homer that gave the A’s a 9-7 win in 10 innings against Texas. “It’s pretty close to as good and clean as I can hit a ball,” Rooker told mlb.com after his first career walk-off hit. “That one felt good.” How hard was it hit? Well, they measure such things these days, and according to Baseball Savant, the exit velocity of Rooker’s rocket was 110.7 mph. Impressive, yes, but not his hardest hit ball of 2023. He has a 112 on his ledger. The hardest hit ball by a Mississippian this year belongs to Austin Riley, the DeSoto Central High alum who plays for Atlanta. He has a 113.3 exit velo, a tick ahead of ex-MSU and current Los Angeles Angels star Hunter Renfroe’s 113.2. (Matt Olson’s 118.6 is the big league best.) At any rate, Rooker’s other numbers in this breakout season are also pretty impressive. He now has 11 homers, tied for the American League lead, and a .673 slugging percentage, which leads all of MLB. He is batting .319 with 29 RBIs for the woeful A’s, who have won just nine of 40 games. P.S. Props to ex-State standout J.P. France, who notched his first big league win for Houston, throwing 6 2/3 innings (three hits, one walk, one run) against the Chicago White Sox. He is 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in two starts. … McComb native Corey Dickerson went 1-for-3 on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester in Washington’s system. Dickerson has been on the injured list since April 2. … Detroit placed Spencer Turnbull on the IL. The Madison Central product, recently sent to the minors, joins a list of Mississippi-connected pitchers on the major or minor league IL that includes: Drew Pomeranz, Garrett Crochet, Dakota Hudson, Demarcus Evans, Ryan Rolison, Zac Houston, Gunnar Hoglund, Will Bednar and Landon Sims.

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