Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge finished atop the field in the 2012 College Baseball Home Run Derby, swatting 16 long balls in three rounds.
Judge edged out Virginia Tech's Tyler Horan and LSU Tiger Mason Katz to become the second Fresno State baseball player to make it to the derby finals. Jordan Ribera finished second in the 2010 edition of the contest.
The sophomore became the first Fresno State male athlete to represent the Mountain West Conference for his school. Female swimmer Dani Yoho, who swam the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympic Trials on Sunday, became the first school athlete to compete in any competition for the Mountain West.
Judge's victory caps a great baseball season for the Bulldogs. Mike Batesole's team had six players drafted in the 2012 MLB draft, but only two inside the top 250.
Fresno State played in the Western Athletic Conference last season, but recently made the switch to the Mountain West following the season. Batesole and company won the WAC tournament in 2012 for the sixth time in seven years.
After the storybook run en route to winning the 2008 College World Series, the Bulldogs have been relatively quiet in the world of college baseball the last few seasons.
Unfortunately, Fresno State was eliminated by second-seeded Pepperdine in the regional stage of the 2012 NCAA tournament. However, things are looking bright for the Bulldogs after Judge's Home Run Derby win. Like they always say, any publicity is good publicity, and the Bulldogs got some this weekend.
The Mountain West Conference isn't exactly among the powerhouses of the nation, and to have a player from the MWC finish first in a nationally televised event can't bring anything but smiles to the Fresno State community.
After leaving the WAC, the Bulldogs certainly needed to make a huge first impression on the other schools in their conference, and Judge helped them do just that.
The Home Run Derby had three participants from the Atlantic Coast Conference, two from the Southeastern Conference, one from the Ohio Valley Conference and one from the Southern Conference.
Judge's victory was a surprising result, but one that pumps life into the smaller conferences of the college baseball landscape.
Batesole has done a great job with the program over the last half-decade, and national publicity like Judge's win will only make them more well-known.
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