Tatum, one of 12 semifinalists for the 2004 Johnny Bench Award, compiled a .333 batting average, leading the team with 57 RBI, 16 doubles and ranking second on the club with 12 home runs. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native is the first Bulldog catcher to have started every game behind the dish since 1990 (Jim Robinson). Tatum has thrown out 19 runners attempting stolen bases, second-most in the SEC, and picked off an additional eight runners on base, tops in the conference. He committed just three errors and sported a .993 fielding percentage as a sophomore.
Mississippi State won six of its last seven games to finish the 2004 regular season schedule with a 34-22 record. During that span the Bulldogs took two of three games at home from SEC co-champ and league tournament top-seed Arkansas and on the final weekend of the season playing in Tuscaloosa, Ala., became the only SEC team this season to register a three-game series sweep of Alabama.