Gonzalez Edged In Home Run Derby Championship Round
The rookie slugged his way to the finals Wednesday night in Omaha
July 4, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - Georgia Tech rookie Matt Gonzalez slugged his way to the finals of the 2013 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby Wednesday night in Omaha, but was edged in the championship round, 6-5, by Rice junior Michael Aquino for the title.
The event aired live on ESPN3 Wednesday night and will re-air nationally on ESPN on July 4th at 8 p.m. ET.
"One of the most fun nights of my life," Gonzalez tweeted after the competition. "So thankful to get the opportunity to be here [especially] with (volunteer assistant coach) Wally Crancer. Congratulations to Michael Aquino for putting on a show."
Gonzalez entered the fourth annual event at cavernous TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha as the relative underdog, having hit just three home runs during the regular season -- the fewest of the eight competitors chosen for the event.
The right-handed rookie dazzled the crowd of nearly 24,000 by swatting six home runs to tie Aquino for the lead after the first round, and launching five more in the second round to clinch his spot in the finals versus the Rice junior.
The Acworth, Ga., native Gonzalez was first to swing in the final round, and heated up late to put five home runs on the board and put the pressure on Aquino. But the Rice Owl was up to the task, needing a late surge as well. Aquino tied the contest and won up against his final two outs.
Gonzalez is the third Yellow Jacket to appear in the College Home Run Derby, and the first to make the championship round. Matt Skole competed in the inaugural event in 2010 and Daniel Palka went last season.
2013 College Home Run Derby Final Results
Michael Aquino, Rice: 6+8+6=20
Matt Gonzalez, Georgia Tech: 6+5+5=16
Kenny Towns, Virginia: 4+4=8
Bo Thompson, The Citadel: 4+3=7
Caleb Adams, UL-Lafayette: 3
DJ Stewart, Florida State: 3
Joey Pankake, South Carolina: 2
Garrett Boulware, Clemson: 2