Niko Hulsizer Tops Chandler Taylor to Win 2017 College Baseball Home Run Derby

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2017

** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND, JUNE 30 - JULY 1 ** A display of wooden, left, and aluminum, right, baseball bats hangs in a sporting goods store in Robinson Township, Pa., Tuesday, June 26, 2007. A small but vocal contingent of lawmakers, coaches, and parents are trying to ban the use of metal bats in youth baseball games. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Morehead State's Niko Hulsizer won the College Home Run Derby on Saturday night, beating Alabama's Chandler Taylor by blasting 17 homers in the final round.

The event shared Hulsizer hoisting his trophy:

"It felt great," Hulsizer said, per Tim Perera of the Omaha World-Herald. "I really came out here to compete and put my team on the map and spread the word about our school. It's amazing. I'm still in shock that it happened."

Hulsizer, a sophomore outfielder, was a first-team All-American and the Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year.

"I tried to just relax and get in the flow all night and trust my body and my swing," he said, per Lex18.com. "This was a such a fun event, and it just shows that guys from smaller schools have power too."

The competition featured plenty of drama. Taylor was one home run short of Hulsizer before his final ball, a bonus offering that would have counted for two and given Taylor the win had he hit it out. Instead, he hit a grounder, and Hulsizer had his victory.

Taylor provided many memorable moments, however, including hitting two homers off the videoboard in right field. 

"Maybe they'll put a net in front of it for next year's derby," he joked, per Perera.

Hulsizer's victory wasn't terribly surprising, as the slugger finished second in the nation with 27 home runs this season. He set the tone early in the competition, raking 19 dingers in the first round. He then hit 16 homers in the second round to set up the showdown with Taylor—who mashed 17 and 16 long balls—in the final.

"Like I told Niko, I said, 'Set the bar high and make me chase you,'" Taylor said. "And he did, and I had a few bad swings in a row but somehow got it back to where the money ball would have won it, and it just didn't happen."

Other participants included Tristan Pompey of Kentucky, Julian Infante of Vanderbilt, Logan Davidson of Clemson and Griffin Conine of Duke.