Russell Finishes Third in Collegiate Home Run Derby
Lamar University junior Reid Russell blasted 30 home runs Sunday evening to finish third in the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby. The event, which was televised on ESPN2, featured eight of college baseball’s elite power hitters. The home derby included Greg Deichmann (LSU), Gary Russo from Miami (Ohio), Dylan Busby (Florida State), Brent Rooker (Mississippi State), Hagen Owenby (East Tennessee State), Joe Davis (Houston), Colby Bortles (Mississippi) and Russell.
Each player was given four minutes to hit as many home runs as they could and had one 30 second timeout they could use at any point during the at-bat. Russell was the seventh player to dig in during the opening round and was placed in a tough position of trying to advance. He needed 14 home runs to have a shot at the semifinal round. After hitting only one home run in the first 1:18 of his at-bat, Russell closed with a surge drilling 12 in the final two minutes to finish tied for third with 15 and secure a spot in the semifinals.
Russell joined Owenby (23), Rooker (16) and Davis (15) in the round of four. Russell was the final batter in the second round and he blasted another 15 homers but came up just one short of advancing to the finals.
Russell helped make history at the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby. Following his opening round the first seven players had recorded 103 home runs to set a new opening round record. The number was bumped to 113 after Bortles’ closed the opening round with 10.
Russell’s appearance in the home run derby capped a standout season for the former junior college transfer. He was named the Southland Conference Hitter of the Year after tying the LU single-season home run record with 18. It marked the fifth time in program history that a Cardinal had been named conference hitter of the year.
The Longview, native led the Southland in home runs and total bases, and was second in RBIs and slugging percentage and fourth in hitting. He also hit .379 in conference play with 12 homers and 43 RBIs. Russell garnered Louisville Slugger National Player and SLC Hitter of the Week honors following a stretch where he hit five home runs in five games.