Jeff Campbell, North Dakota
Eric Gutierrez, Texas Tech
Zach Collins, Miami
Kel Johnson, Georgia Tech
Will Craig, Wake Forest
Kyle Lewis, Mercer
Joe Dunand, North Carolina State
Colton Shaver, BYU
Jeff Campbell had swung for the fences at TD Ameritrade Park before as his North Dakota squad squared off with Creighton.
He didn’t homer against the Bluejays.
“That was back in the dead-ball era,” Campbell said.
That all changed Thursday night. Campbell hit 10 home runs in the final round, and that was good enough for a win over Wake Forest’s Will Craig in the College Home Run Derby.
“I’m a senior, so this is my last college event,” Campbell said. “It means so much, not just to me, but to the program.”
Campbell’s first three swings in the final were good for home runs, and he hit three in a row later in the round and finished with 10.
“I thought putting up 10 would be a good number,” Campbell said of the final, “especially with him having a short break.”
Craig, meanwhile, had bolted into the final by hitting 16 home runs in the second round. But in the final, Craig managed four.
“When I stepped in the box and took that first swing (in the final), I thought, I’m a little more tired than I expected,” said Craig, who was the final hitter during the second round. “But this was a great experience.”
Campbell, who was North Dakota’s home run leader in all four of his seasons there, put on a power display in the opening round as he hit 20, including a stretch of 12 homers in 15 swings. Six of the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Campbell’s homers that round landed on the left-field concourse.
“I got in a good rhythm of hitting a good pitch and then taking a pitch,” Campbell said.
Craig then muscled up in the second round to bolt into the final. Craig hit 16 in that round — he stopped after making eight outs since he was in the lead. Two of his homers that round were to center, and two were to the opposite field. His huge round moved him past Georgia Tech’s Kel Johnson, who had hit 17 homers in the first round.
The Home Run Derby ended a busy few days for Craig, who had an All-American season this spring. Craig, who is playing in the Cape Cod League this summer, worked out in Fenway Park on Tuesday before catching a flight to Omaha on Wednesday.
“It’s been crazy,” Craig said.
Last year’s runner-up, Eric Gutierrez of Texas Tech, who hit a derby record 52 homers last season, reached the second round before being eliminated. He hit 17 in two rounds Thursday.
|Jeff Campbell (North Dakota)||20|
|Kel Johnson (Georgia Tech)||17|
|Will Craig (Wake Forest)||9|
|Eric Gutierrez (Texas Tech)||9|
|Zack Collins (Miami)||7|
|Colton Shaver (BYU)||7|
|Joe Dunand (NC State)||6|
|Kyle Lewis (Mercer)||4|
|Will Craig||16 (25)|
|Jeff Campbell||4 (24)|
|Kel Johnson||6 (23)|
|Eric Gutierrez||8 (17)|