Tennessee Tech sophomore Zach Stephens, former Soddy Daisy High standout, has been selected as one of seven players from college baseball to participate in the 2012 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby.
The event will be held in the TD Ameritrade Park located in Omaha, home of the College World Series. The first pitched is scheduled for Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.
“I found out last week when coach Bragga said I was invited,” Stephens said. “I was really excited when I first heard the news and it will be a great opportunity to get out there and hit a few home runs.”
Stephens displayed power all season and finished fourth in the nation in home runs per game (0.34) and sixth in home runs with 18. His .696 slugging percentage placed him in fifth place in the nation, while his 142 total bases ranked 29th. His on base percentage of .479 put him in 32nd place.
Stephens also finished 58th in batting average (.368), 53rd in runs batted in per game (0.98) and 84th runs batted in (52).
Tennessee Tech assistant coach Matt Mihoci will pitch for Stephens during the event and seemed to be the natural choice for Stephens.
“I always seemed to have a good batting practice when he was throwing off the mound,” Stephens said. “He always threw the pitches right down the middle of the plate and they seemed to go a little farther every time.”
Stephens will compete with six talented hitters from some of the most prestigious baseball programs in the nation.
Other participants in the event include last year’s winner, Daniel Aldrich out of College of Charleston, LB Dantzler of South Carolina, Tyler Horan of Virginia Tech, Daniel Palka of Georgia Tech, Derek Fisher of Virginia, Mason Katz of Louisiana State and Aaron Judge of Fresno State.
- LB Dantzler – a junior from University of South Carolina, who finished the season with 10 home runs and 48 RBI. Dantzler helped lead the Gamecocks to its third straight national championship series.
- Tyler Horan – a redshirt sophomore from Virginia Tech, who finished the season with 15 home runs, ranking third in the ACC. He also led his team in several categories, including runs batted in (RBI) (41) and runs scored (45).
- Daniel Palka – a sophomore from Georgia Tech, who hit 12 home runs and was named Second Team All-ACC. He was one of two Yellow Jackets to start all 64 games this season. In his time off the field, the outfielder volunteers for the Special Olympics.
- Derek Fisher – a freshman from the University of Virginia who was named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Baseball Team, as selected by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, and as a Freshman All-American by the NCBWA. He ranks in the Top 10 nationally for triples (8) and his favorite MLB team is the New York Yankees.
- Zach Stephens – a sophomore from Tennessee Tech, who tied for sixth nationally in home runs (18) and was named to the Second Team All-Ohio Valley Conference. Stephens was also a semi-finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and named to the 60-man Golden Spikes Award Watch List. In 2011, Stephens was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Baseball Team.
- Mason Katz – a junior from Louisiana State University (LSU), who finished the year with 13 homers, 52 RBI, and a slugging percentage over .550. When not on the diamond, Katz loves spending time on the golf course.
- Aaron Judge – a sophomore from Fresno State, who finished the year with a batting average of more than .300 while playing in all 58 games. He is a two-time First Team All-WAC selection and a 2012 WAC All-Tournament Team selection.