CHARLESTON VS. HICKORY (BOX SCORE/RECAP)
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PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Tiger Mike Ford did it all in his three years as a member of the Princeton University baseball team.
He was the first player in program history to be named the Ivy League Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season. He was a two-time All-America honoree and the only Tiger to garner Player, Pitcher and Rookie of the Year accolades during his career. This past Sunday, Ford accomplished another rare feat, becoming the second minor leaguer in a week to hit four home runs in a game.
Signing with the New York Yankees as an undrafted free agent in the summer of 2013, he was designated for assignment with the team’s Class A Short-Season affiliate in Staten Island, forgoing his senior season. Now playing for the Class A Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League (SAL), he belted four homers in a 17-10 win over the Hickory Crawdads over the weekend.
“It's a great feeling to do that in a game, to help my team win, to get a much-needed win," said Ford to MiLB’s Kelsie Heneghan. "I've come close to it, but this is just the greatest feeling."
Finishing 4-for-5 with 5 RBIs, Ford began his afternoon with a walk in the top of the first. After striking out in the third, he lifted a two-run shot over the right field wall in the fourth. After also homering in the sixth and seventh innings, he capped off the day with one final blast in the ninth.
According to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), this is the first time since 2007 that two players have hit four home runs in a game during a single minor league season. Jon Griffin of the Mobile BayBears recorded four roundtrippers in a 17-7 triumph over the Tennessee Smokies on May 21. Ford is just the third player in SAL history to accomplish the feat, joining Pat Garman (1988) and Tony Mongeluzzo (2002).
In 47 games with Charleston, Ford is hitting .319 with a .418 on-base and .518 slugging percentage. Tied for fourth in the SAL in homers (8), he currently leads the team in batting average, slugging, runs scored (28) and total bases (86), while tying for first in RBIs (27) and doubles (9).
Bursting onto the Princeton scene in 2011, Ford saw action in all 47 of the squad’s games, batting .300 with three home runs, nine doubles, 31 RBIs, and 30 runs scored. Also posting a 3.95 earned-run average and 5-4 record in 11 starts, he helped the Tigers to their seventh Ivy League Championship and 11th NCAA Tournament berth.
During his final year in Orange & Black he hit .320, tying for second in the conference in home runs (6) and third in RBI (38). Also going 6-0 on the mound in nine appearances, he posted a league-low 0.98 ERA, allowing just seven earned runs in 64.0 innings of work.
In addition to being named the Ivy League’s Player and Pitcher of the Year in 2013, he was the first player in school history to be named a John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award finalist and a Gregg Olson Award semifinalist. A first-team All-Ivy selection, he also picked up a nod on the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region First Team.
Ford is currently on track to graduate from the University in the fall of 2014.
To read more about Mike Ford, click below:
• Ford Signs With New York Yankees
• Ivy Player and Pitcher of the Year, First-Team All-Ivy
• Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Watch List
• Gregg Olson Award Semifinalist
• NCBWA All-America Third Team
• Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Finalist
• ABCA Northeast Region First Team