More than 30 years later, Oklahoma State’s Pete Incaviglia is still college baseball’s all-time home run king. “Inky” is the lone player in college baseball lore to reach triple-digits in career long balls, finishing his illustrious career with exactly 100 home runs.
Let’s take a look at college baseball’s top 10 all-time home run hitters.
College baseball's career home run leaders:
|1||Pete Incaviglia||Oklahoma St.||1983-1985||213||100||0.47|
|2||Jeff Ledbetter||Florida St.||1979-1982||262||97||0.37|
|3||Todd Greene||Ga. Southern||1990-1993||240||88||0.37|
|5||Frank Fazzini||Florida St.||1983-1985||234||79||0.34|
|7||George Canale||Virginia Tech||1984-1986||180||76||0.42|
It all starts with Incaviglia. The Cowboys slugger had a final season for the ages, blasting 48 home runs behind a 1.140 slugging percentage in 1985, both still NCAA single-season records. Only four players in the history of college baseball have eclipsed the 40-home run mark in a season and two are on our all-time list. Rice’s Lance Berkman (41 in 1997) and Brandon Larson — Eddie Furniss and Brad Cresse’s LSU teammate who led the team with 40 dingers in 1997 — join Inky and Ledbetter in the exclusive club.
Incaviglia set the current NCAA record by breaking that of Jeff Ledbetter. Ledbetter, "nicknamed 'Treetops' for his blasts over the right-field fence," according to Florida State, set the record for home runs in a game with four in 1982 (the record is now six, set in 1999). His 346 runs batted in still stands as the NCAA career record — 22 more than Incaviglia in second place.
Furniss and Cresse were part of the famous Geauxrilla Ball era at LSU. Both were members of the 1997 CWS champion Tigers team that slugged 188 home runs that season — still an NCAA record — including at least one Tiger bomb in every one of the 70 games they played. Furniss finished his career as one of college baseball’s all-time greats, ending as the SEC's all-time leader in home runs, RBIs and hits, the latter finally broken this season by Mississippi State’s Jake Mangum. Cresse finished his career two behind Furniss on the SEC career home run list.
Two players on the list stand out as big "what ifs." BYU’s Cory Snyder and Virginia Tech’s George Canale both slugged 0.42 home runs per game, tied for second behind Inky’s 0.47. It makes you wonder just how many they could have hit had either come close to the 213 games Incaviglia played. Neither Snyder nor Canale hit less than 21 home runs in their three years of college baseball, with Canale posting a career-high of 29 and Snyder slamming 27 as his best mark.
Matt LaPorta is the most recent player to crack the top 10, and that was more than a decade ago. LaPorta was a four-year player who had 20-plus home runs in two of his seasons. His 26 in 2005 is still a program record. LaPorta hit a home run in five straight games between March 24 and April 1, 2007, and three of them were two-home run games.
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Is there anyone entering the 2020 season that can finally break into the top 10 list? Perhaps the best shot is a healthy Spencer Torkelson on Arizona State. The Sun Devils junior first baseman slugged 25 and 23 home runs in his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively, so the 25 he needs to reach Snyder aren’t out of the question. Two other names to watch for come 2021 are Sonny DiChiara of Samford, who hit 21 homers as a freshman in 2019, and Aaron Sabato of North Carolina, who slugged 18 home runs despite having just two in the first month of his 2019 freshman season.