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Air Force’s Nic Ready sends 55 baseballs flying in College Home Run Derby victory

July 3, 2018

Nic Ready had mixed feelings when Sunday night’s College Home Run Derby came down to the final swing.

“We all want each other to win, we all want each other to be successful,” Ready said. “But I can’t lie, there’s a little piece of me that didn’t want him to do it.”

Ready, who will be a senior at Air Force next season, hit 21 home runs in the final round and edged Clemson’s Logan Davidson by one to claim the trophy.

Davidson hit four homers in the final 35 seconds to get to 20. His last swing would have been worth two — and the win — but he couldn’t muscle out one more.

“I was ready to hit it,” said Davidson, who was competing in the event for a second straight year. “I was a little fatigued, but I was locked in. It didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but I was ready for it.”

A switch-hitter, Davidson’s decision midway through the opening round nearly carried him to the trophy.

Davidson started the first round batting right-handed and hit two homers in the first 89 seconds. He switched to the left side and hit homers on his first five swings. He hit 13 homers in the final 2:31 of that round.

Davidson batted only from the left side the rest of the night.

“I have equal power from both sides, sometimes the left side is more consistent,” Davidson said. “It was a good switch, obviously.”

Ready, who led the Mountain West Conference in homers this spring with 20, hit the most homers during Sunday’s first round with 18. He was consistent all night as he hit 19 in the second round and then 21 in the final.

Ready said this was the first home run derby he had ever competed in.

“I might have done one when I was really little,” Ready said with a laugh. “Honestly, I was just hoping to make it to the second round.”

Davidson put himself in the final by hitting 23 homers in the second round, the most anyone hit in one round Sunday. Mississippi’s Thomas Dillard, who was in second place after one round, hit 14 homers in the final 2:45 of his second round, but he finished with 33, eliminating him from the final.

That set the stage for Ready, who hit six homers in the last 45 seconds of his final round. Non-Power Five conference players have won the past four College Home Run Derbies: The previous winners were from Morehead State, East Tennessee State and North Dakota.

“I’m just glad we put on a really good show for everyone,” Ready said.

During the event, this year’s inductees into the Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame, Terry Francona and Nomar Garciaparra, were recognized.

Francona, currently the manager of the Cleveland Indians, led Arizona to the 1980 College World Series title, while Garciaparra starred at Georgia Tech.

Results

First round: Nic Ready (Air Force) 18, Thomas Dillard (Mississippi) 16, Logan Davidson (Clemson) 15, Parker Phillips (Austin Peay) 12, Wil Dalton (Florida) 11, Kyle McCann (Georgia Tech) 10.

Second round: Davidson 23 (38 total), Ready 19 (37), Dillard 17 (33), Phillips 8 (20).

Final: Ready 21, Davidson 20.