LUBBOCK, Texas (Texas Tech Press Release) – Texas Tech sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez (Mission, Texas), one of the nation’s premier power hitters, is one of eight players in the country that will compete in the fifth-annual TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby set for Thursday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Omaha. The contest will air live on ESPN.
The family-friendly event, which last year had over 23,000 fans in attendance, will conclude with the 30th annual Omaha World-Herald fireworks display.
Gutierrez led the Big 12 in home runs (12), RBI (58) and total bases (132) this season while ranking second in the league in slugging percentage (.539). His 12 homers and 58 RBI lead the country among all underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores). Overall, he ranked 16th in the nation in RBI and 19th in home runs.
He becomes the first Red Raider to participate in the event.
He picked up All-Big 12 first team honors while being named to the Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament Team. The Waco Tribune-Herald named Gutierrez the Big 12 Player of the Year while he batted .302 with 46 runs, 18 doubles and 26 walks and 16 hit-by-pitch with only 27 strikeouts and a .399 on-base percentage. In addition, Gutierrez has started 122 consecutive games, spanning his entire two-year career at Tech.
Gutierrez tallied a team-leading 23 two-out RBI and he led the Red Raiders with eight game-winning RBI.
“We are thrilled to once again bring the College Home Run Derby to Omaha,” said Katrina Becker, managing director of communications and public affairs for TD Ameritrade. “In our fifth year, we hope that baseball fans and families alike join us at the ballpark for a night of home runs and, thanks to our continued collaboration with the Omaha World-Herald, yet another truly memorable fireworks display.”
The eight contestants are being announced via twitter this week (@CollegeHRDerby). A full roster will be announced on the College HR Derby website (www.collegehomerunderby.com) on Monday.
RULES OF PLAY
The College Home Run Derby includes three rounds of play: Round 1 featuring all contestants, Round 2 featuring the hitters with the top four scores after Round 1, and Round 3 featuring the top two sluggers after Round 2.
In each round, contestants will attempt to hit as many home runs as they can before logging 10 outs, or hits that do not result in a home run. Balls reaching the warning track will not count as an out, giving players another opportunity at bat. Additionally, following the tenth and final out of each at bat, contestants will have an opportunity to hit a home run with the ‘Bonus Ball.’ If successful, the special ball will tack two additional home runs onto the contestant’s total score.