OMAHA, Neb. (June 29, 2016) – ETSU Baseball can label itself “Home Run University.”
For the third time in the seven-year history of the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby, the Buccaneers will be represented, as sophomore catcher Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) will be one of the eight participants in the 2016 event. The Home Run Derby is held Sunday, July 3 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., and will also be televised live on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. EDT.
Owenby – a 14th round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft – belted a team-leading 17 home runs this past season. The 17 homers rank 17th nationally, while they were also the most round-trippers by a Buccaneer since Matthew Scruggs hit 20 in 2012. Owenby had three two-home run games this past season, while homering in four straight games from Feb. 27-March 4 and in three straight from April 29-May 1. Since his freshman season, Owenby averages one home run for every 16.92 at-bats including one homer for every 13.82 at-bats this season.
This is just one of many honors Owenby has earned this season as he was also tabbed Louisville Slugger All-American and ABCA/Rawlings All-Region. In addition, Owenby was named First Team All-Southern Conference, SoCon Player of the Month (May), and SoCon Player and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (April 29-May 1).
“The last few weeks have been unreal for me. I have received a lot of postseason accolades and wasn’t really expecting them,” said Owenby, who is currently playing for the Chatham A’s in the Cape Cod League. “I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a great coaching staff and teammates at ETSU – none of this would have been possible without them.
“I have been up in the Cape and trying to stay focused on playing ball. I didn’t know about the Home Run Derby until Coach (Skole) called me to give me the information. Everything works out for a reason and being part of the Home Run Derby will be an unbelievable experience. It’s great for the program and an excellent recruiting tool. Coach Skole will be throwing to me and he has a lot of experience in this event as he was there when Paul (Hoilman) won it. He throws really good batting practice and has that on lockdown. I am not worried about that; I just hope I can do my part. I am really excited to go out there. It will be a lot of fun.”
Owenby joins Paul Hoilman (2010) and Dylan Pratt (2011) as the Buccaneer trio to participate in this prestigious event. ETSU and College of Charleston are the only two schools to have three players participate in the history of event. Hoilman – who ranked fifth nationally with 25 home runs in 2010 – won the inaugural Home Run Derby with 18 home runs (12 in the final round). In the 2011 season, Hoilman and Pratt combined for 37 home runs as ETSU led the country with 86 bombs. This season, the Bucs ranked seventh nationally with 75 home runs and sixth with 1.32 per game.
This marks the third trip to the Home Run Derby for head coach Tony Skole, and he’s excited for Hagen and the university.
“This is another wonderful honor for Hagen. It’s icing on the cake for the remarkable season he had this spring,” said Coach Skole. “To be recognized as one of college baseball's elite sluggers and to have the opportunity to participate in this year's College Baseball Home Run Derby is very exciting.
“It’ll be fun to see him perform on that stage. Both Paul (Hoilman) and Dylan (Pratt) did very well out there, but they will tell you, it’s not an easy thing to do. Hagen is similar to those two guys in that when he gets it going in batting practice, it sure is fun to watch.
This is really tremendous for ETSU and our baseball program. To have another outstanding student/athlete representing our university in this event is really special."
Fans are asked to use the #HomeRunU to show their support for Owenby during his time in Omaha … Please also follow @ETSU_Baseball on Twitter for updates throughout the Home Run Derby.
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