Increasingly people are eschewing professional sports for the purer experience of amateur competition. Greedy millionaire owners, lazy, greedy, entitled professional athletes, and cries of shenanigans about the fairness of officiating in some leagues (looking at you, NFL) have led many people to minor league sports and college sports.
There is a purity in youth and collegiate sports that is attractive to the jaded professional fan. Even minor leagues like the XFL and USFL deliver a more emotional experience. Recently in Kentucky, a collegiate baseball player pulled off a feat so rare that it has only been done in the pro ranks once in the game’s history. Fox News reports:
There’s having a day on the baseball diamond, and then there’s what Northern Kentucky University’s Liam McFadden-Ackman did on Sunday afternoon. He accomplished a feat only Fernando Tatis can say he did in Major League Baseball history, let alone college baseball.
Northern Kentucky unleashed 14 runs in that first inning, and McFadden-Ackman is a key reason why that occurred. He hit two grand slams in the same inning.
Let that sink in for a moment. It is hard enough to hit one grand slam in a game, let alone two in the same inning. The difficulty is underscored by the fact that in well over a hundred years of playing more than a hundred games a year from countless teams it had only been done a solitary time.
Northern Kentucky University is a small school just south of Cincinnati in Highland Heights, Kentucky. Indeed, considering the less than stellar play of the Major League team just across the river, this kind of excitement hasn’t been seen on the diamond in the area in some time. Fox continues:
You are going to want to see THIS🤯
— NKU Baseball (@NKUNorseBSB) February 26, 2023
With the bases loaded, McFadden-Ackman, the Norse’s four-hole hitter, roped a ball to left field that had home run written all over it off the bat. Four runs came across to score and NKU was in control after giving up that one run to WMU.
But the Norse weren’t done. They capitalized on every opportunity they had putting up five more runs until the lineup came back around to McFadden-Ackman with the bases juiced again.
He connected well on another ball, and while this one hung in the air longer than the first, it eventually cleared the fence for another grand slam.
College baseball, while not having quite the following of NCAA basketball boasts an excitement and purity that basketball doesn’t. College baseball players are fringe professional prospect at best, while NCAA basketball is populated with one-and-done players that only go to school to showcase their wares for the NBA. College baseball players are the true definition of student-athletes.
McFadden-Ackman wasn’t done having the best day of his career, as he contributed to the 27-4 pummeling of Western Michigan later in the game. Fox concludes:
McFadden-Ackman would get a hit in three more at-bats, finishing his day 5-for-6 with four runs scored and 10 RBIs, including a single that drove in two runs in the sixth inning.
If there was a mercy rule, Western Michigan would’ve liked it as the game ended 27-4 after nine innings. The Norse had 19 hits to the Broncos’ 10.
Tatis remains the only big leaguer to hit two grand slams in a single inning, dating back to April 23, 1999, when he faced the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In college baseball, though, Caleb Pendleton of Florida Atlanta University accomplished the feat in his first two collegiate at-bats in the same inning in 2021.
Being a native of the area and having spent considerable time on the campus of NKU, I can only say GO NORSE! The team is off to a great start, and the greater Cincinnati area may not see more excitement on the diamond all year than what is going on in Highland Heights, Kentucky.
Feature image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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