OMAHA, Neb. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Thomas Dillard sent 32 baseballs over the walls of TD Ameritrade Park Sunday night to secure Ole Miss baseball’s best finish ever at the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans College Home Run Derby.
The event was delayed to Sunday after thunderstorms swept through Omaha late on Saturday. Dillard brought the thunder when the derby finally began, crushing 16 home runs for 16 points in the first round, second only to the eventual champion Nic Ready of Air Force. Dillard’s first round included two five-homer streaks as he became the first Rebel ever to advance to the second round.
In the second 4:00 round, the rising junior out of Oxford started slow, hitting just one home run in the first minute and change before calling an early timeout. After the break, Dillard took off, belting 14 home runs down the stretch plus the two-point Money Ball to bring his point total to 33, just four points behind Ready’s 37.
Dillard looked to be in good position to advance to the finals, but Clemson’s Logan Davidson caught fire with the biggest round of the night, 21 home runs plus the Money Ball to rocket to 38 points and knock Dillard out of the running.
Ready went on to win the title with 19 home runs plus the Money Ball in the final round for 21 points to edge Davidson, who finished at 20 points, as his Money Ball attempt came up short.
Dillard and his fellow sluggers combined for 184 home runs, just one shy of the record of 185 set in 2016.
Dillard, who led Ole Miss with 13 home runs this season, was the third Rebel to participate in the College Home Run Derby. Colby Bortles took part in the derby in 2016, while Sikes Orvis competed in the 2014 edition.