There are no secrets between the Southeastern Conference’s two most powerful sluggers.
Mississippi State outfielder Brent Rooker, who has hit an SEC-best 20 home runs entering this weekend’s series, and LSU outfielder Greg Deichmann, who is right behind him with 17, frequently reach each other on the phone to talk shop.
“We talk almost every week,” Deichmann said.
The two met last summer at the collegiate home run derby — Rooker slightly edged Deichmann then, 16 to 14 according to Deichmann’s recollection — and have been developing a friendship since then.
More often than not, the talk centers around the art of hitting. And judging by the production between the two, it’s probably not a bad idea.
Rooker entered the weekend leading the SEC in each triple crown category. He was the only qualifying SEC hitter batting better than .400 and also had 71 RBIs.
Deichmann, meanwhile, is putting together the type of season that would normally qualify him for SEC Player of the Year contention if it weren’t for the year Rooker has had so far.
Deichmann entered the Mississippi State series hitting .318 with a team high 17 homers and 60 RBIs, ranking No. 2 in the SEC in home runs and No. 3 in RBIs.
“We kind of pick each other’s brains to see what (the other) does,” Deichmann said. “We’ve got a good relationship going, and it’s fun to have that. … We talk hitting. It’s cool.
“He’s a guy who’s leading the SEC in all those categories, and I’ve been right up there with him kind of going back and forth.”
Deichmann, of course, would not mind ruining his friend’s triple crown chances with a big weekend.
“I mess with him all the time,” Deichmann said. “I tell him I’m coming for him. I hit (a home run Tuesday) night and he didn’t, so I said, ‘I’m coming for you, I’m going to get three (home runs) this weekend and pass you up.”
Speaking of Deichmann and Rooker, both were named as semifinalists for some prestigious postseason hardware Thursday.
Deichmann was named one of 25 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, an annual award presented to college baseball’s top player as voted by the Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
In addition to his prowess at the plate, the former infielder has also shown off his defensive ability in his first season as an outfielder, gunning down five players from right field — including one on a would-be single, getting the ball to first base before the runner could reach the bag.
He is one of four SEC players to be named as semifinalists, joined by Rooker, Kentucky’s Riley Mahan and Texas A&M freshman Braden Shewmake.
Southeastern Louisiana third baseman Taylor Schwaner was also named a semifinalist. The Slidell native is hitting .335 with 13 home runs, and his 68 RBIs rank fourth nationally.
This is the 31st year of the Dick Howser Trophy. The finalists will be announced June 9, and will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium on June 17, the opening day of the College World Series.