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Holiman wins Collegiate Home Run Derby title for Buccaneers

OMAHA, Neb. (July 8, 2010) — ETSU junior first baseman Paul Hoilman (Johnson City) is now the college homerun king after winning the inaugural TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium on Wednesday.
The event was aired nationwide Sunday on CBS, and the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics hosted an official “watch” party at Fanatics Restaurant inside the Doubletree Hotel in Johnson City.
“This was just an unbelievable event,” said ETSU head coach Tony Skole. “The atmosphere was electric and Paul was simply outstanding. He put on quite a show for the people of Omaha. The eyes of college baseball were on him and he rose to the occasion.”
Hoilman, who was pitched to by Skole, hit 12 home runs in the final round to take the title in dominating fashion over Fresno State’s Jordan Ribera and Skole’s nephew Matt Skole of Georgia Tech. Ribera was only able to hit one homer in the final round while Skole did not hit any. The three players were the only ones in the field to hit more than two home runs before the 10-out limit.
“It was just an unbelievable experience to able to compete at Rosenblatt Stadium,” said Hoilman. “There were some unbelievable players there competing that I have met along the way and winning the event was just icing on the cake.”
In the final round, Hoilman hit seven home runs in his first 11 swings before recorded five straight outs. He kept the show going however as he hit the next five balls out of the park to reach his final total of 12.
“To be able to participate in this event at Rosenblatt Stadium was so special,” Skole said. “This was a grand stage and Paul was at his best. He got on a roll and hit some monster home runs. It was fun to watch. I couldn’t be more proud of him and his performance.”
Hoilman joins former ETSU men’s basketball player Calvin Talford (Castlewood, Va.) as champion of a similar national competition. Talford won the inaugural college slam dunk competition in 1992.
The collegiate home run hitting competition featured eight of the nation’s premier power hitters facing off in an elimination-style format. Competitors were selected from a pool of eligible players that have ranked among the nation’s home run leaders during the 2010 college baseball season.
Hoilman, the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, set a new school record with 25 home runs on the season, and became only the fourth Buccaneer in the program’s history to reach the 20 home run plateau. The 25 home runs was the fifth best nationally, as Hoilman competed against national leaders in Ribera and Dan Paolini of Siena.
Matt Gaudet of LSU and Steven Felix of Troy were some of the other big names in the Home Run Derby.
The 2010 TD AMERITRADE College Home Run Derby also featured National Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt and 2010 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson. Schmidt and Dawson served as honorary hitting coaches for Derby participants.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Holiman has family ties to Johnson County and several relatives still live here. The Tomahawk plans to do a full feature on this Major League Prospect at a later date.)