Edouard Julien joined elite company in Auburn's 2019 College World Series opener against Mississippi State.
Julien crushed a two-run homer in the second inning against MSU's Ethan Small that was tracked at 429 feet, according to the official NCAA 2019 College World Series media notes. That distance ties former Florida Gator Pete Alonso for the longest tracked homer in College World Series history at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha — unofficially. TDAPO has hosted the tournament since it opened in 2011.
Why is this record unofficial? We reached out to Jeff Williams, NCAA associate director of media coordination and statistics, to find out if the NCAA keeps historical records of the longest home runs hit at the College World Series. It turns out they don't. But thanks to ESPN, television home to the CWS since 2003, we have a pretty good idea of some of the other longest bombs.
ESPN has been tracking home run distance since the tournament's move from Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in 2011. According to ESPN Stats & Information, here are the other longest homers hit in the College World Series from 2011-18:
|DATE||HITTER||SCHOOL||HR DISTANCE||OPPONENT||INNING||HR DIRECTION|
|6/16/19||Eduoard Julien||Auburn||429 ft.||Mississippi State||2nd||Right|
|6/20/15||Pete Alonso||Florida||429 ft.||Virginia||2nd||Center|
|6/22/17||Brendan McKay||Louisville||428 ft.||TCU||4th||Right-center|
|6/21/16||Pete Alonso||Florida||425 ft.||Texas Tech||9th||Left|
|6/17/15||Pete Alonso||Florida||421 ft.||Miami (Fla.)||7th||Center|
|6/17/17||Dylan Busby||Florida State||421 ft.||LSU||1st||Center|
|6/17/19||Cameron Warren||Texas Tech||421 ft.||Arkansas||4th||Left|
Alonso has three of the six longest homers on the list. His first big fly in the 2015 tournament registered at a projected distance of 421 feet to left field on a 93-mile per hour fastball from Miami righty Derik Beauprez on June 17, 2015. The ball landed about five rows deep, just to the left of the batter's eye in straightaway center.
That was the fourth and final home run of the night for the Gators, who won 10-2 to eliminate the Hurricanes.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Alonso said after that game. “Especially if you connect with one and it gets out of this park because historically the ball doesn’t travel well here, then its definitely a well-struck ball and to square up a baseball and have it go over the fence is the best feeling in the world.”
Just three days later, Alonso broke his own park record with that mammoth 429-foot shot against Virginia. This time, he jumped on a hanging breaking ball and launched it well beyond the 408-foot wall in centerfield.
The Gators would eventually lose that game to Virginia, 5-4, to fall one game short of reaching the CWS finals. But Alonso certainly left an impression in Omaha. And he wasn't done.
Florida returned for the 2016 College World Series, and Alonso continued to rake. Against Texas Tech in the ninth inning of an elimination game, he crushed a 425-foot two-run homer that nearly reached the concourse beyond the left-field stands.
That would be Alonso's final at-bat in a Gators uniform. He signed with the Mets as a second-round pick after Florida was eliminated by Texas Tech. In seven career CWS games, Alonso finished with a .320 average (8-for-25), three home runs, five runs and nine RBIs.
The next longest CWS homer hit at TD Ameritrade Park behind Julien and Alonso came off the bat of three-time John Olerud Award winner Brendan McKay.
McKay hit his 428-foot bomb — one foot short of the record — in his final collegiate game back in 2017. He finished 1-for-4 in Louisville's 4-3 elimination game loss to TCU.
“For me personally, it’s just another statistic,” McKay said back in 2017 at the postgame press conference. “But to hit a home run in the College World Series is awesome, on national TV in front of 20-some thousand people in the stands, it’s pretty awesome.”
It's noteworthy that all seven homers at the top of ESPN's list have come in the past four seasons. A flat seam baseball — which travels off the bat further — was approved by the NCAA for use starting in the 2015 season. This move was made to counter bat specifications changes in 2011 that led to a decrease in offensive production. Six total home runs were hit in 30 games at the 2013 and '14 College World Series.
HOMER HISTORY: A brief history of grand slams at the College World Series
The number of CWS home runs rose to 15 with the new ball in 2015 and closed at 10 in 2016. In 2017, 23 long balls were hit, shattering the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha era record (2011-current). Eighteen more were hit in the 2018 tournament.