Georgia Tech rookie Matt Gonzalez slugged his way to the finals of the 2013 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby Wednesday night in Omaha, but was edged in the championship round, 6-5, by Rice junior Michael Aquino for the title.
The event aired live on ESPN3 Wednesday night and will re-air nationally on ESPN on July 4th at 8 p.m. ET.
Clemson's Garrett Boulware and South Carolina's Joey Pankake hit two home runs each and were eliminated in the opening round. The Citadel's Bo Thompson reached the semifinals, as did Virginia's Kenny Towns.
Others knocked out in the first round included Florida State's D.J. Stewart and Louisiana-Lafayette's Caleb Adams.
"One of the most fun nights of my life," Gonzalez tweeted after the competition. "So thankful to get the opportunity to be here...Congratulations to Michael Aquino for putting on a show."
Gonzalez entered the fourth annual event at cavernous TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha as the relative underdog, having hit just three home runs during the regular season -- the fewest of the eight competitors chosen for the event.
The right-handed rookie dazzled the crowd of nearly 24,000 by swatting six home runs to tie Aquino for the lead after the first round, and launching five more in the second round to clinch his spot in the finals versus the Rice junior.
The Acworth, Ga., native Gonzalez was first to swing in the final round, and heated up late to put five home runs on the board and put the pressure on Aquino. But the Rice Owl was up to the task, needing a late surge as well. Aquino tied the contest and won up against his final two outs.
Joey Pankake, S. Carolina: 2 (elim.)
Garrett Boulware, Clemson: 2 (elim.)
Matt Gonzalez, Georgia Tech: 6
Michael Aquino, Rice: 6
DJ Stewart, Florida State: 3 (elim.)
Kenny Towns, Virginia: 4
Caleb Adams, La.-Lafayette: 3 (elim.)
Bo Thompson, The Citadel: 4
Thompson: 3, 7 total (elim.)
Towns: 4, 8 total (elim.)
Aquino: 8, 14 total
Gonzalez: 5, 11 total
Final round (totals reset)