Stovall homers in first two pro at-bats

Rockies 21st-round pick collects three hits, four RBIs in debut

Hunter Stovall had 22 extra-base hits, 46 runs scored and 42 RBIs in his final season at Mississippi State. (HailState.com)

By Michael Avallone / MiLB.com | July 8, 2018 12:20 AM

Hunter Stovall slugged four homers in 148 games across three seasons at Mississippi State. He's halfway to that total after one Minor League game.

The Rockies' 21st-round pick in last month's Draft homered in each of his first two at-bats and finished with three hits and four RBIs in his professional debut on Saturday, powering Rookie-level Grand Junction past Ogden, 5-4, at Suplizio Field. 

Stovall officially signed with Colorado on Monday.

Video: Grand Junction's Stovall knocks two-run homer

"Just a huge night for Hunter," Grand Junction hitting coach Zach Osborne said. "He was locked in and excited from the get-go when he saw his name was in lineup, and he took advantage, for sure. Even ignoring what he did at the plate, it was a special night for him. The other stuff was just icing on the cake. All of us were ecstatic to see him and what he did."


Gameday box score


After 26th-round pick Will Golsan led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple, Stovall cleared the left field fence on the fourth pitch he saw as a Minor Leaguer. With Golsan on after a leadoff single in the third, the Birmingham, Alabama, native drilled his second homer in as many at-bats to left-center off right-hander Caleb Sampen to highlight a three-run third.

Stovall stayed perfect with a single to center in the fourth, although he was caught stealing to end the inning. He was retired for the first time when he struck out swinging against reliever Mark Washington in the seventh.

Video: Grand Junction's Stovall knocks game's second homer

"At this stage, we want these guys to be themselves," Osborne said. "You're here for a reason, don't worry about the numbers, just go out and play. This is kind of an introduction of sorts. College and high school are completely different, so it's all about getting their feet wet and seeing what the pro game is all about."

The 636th overall player selected last month, Stovall enjoyed a strong three-year run at MSU after being named the 2015 Gatorade Alabama High School Player of the Year. The infielder improved his numbers each season in the Southeastern Conference, culminating in a .321/.369/.429 slash line that included 22 extra-base hits, 46 runs scored and 42 RBIs in 68 games in 2018. Stovall ended his tenure with the Bulldogs by hitting .298/.353/.391.

"We want to draft these guys, get them in here and see why they're here," Osborne said. "We want to see why we drafted them and the type of people they are on and off the field. With Hunter, you can tell he's a gamer. He's ready to play and that competitive drive as a hitter is one of the biggest attributes you can have. When you're in the box, you want to show you're better than the pitcher and Hunter seems to have that."

MiLB include

Golsan matched his new teammate with three hits and scored twice. 

Grand Junction starter Wander Cabrera (1-1) allowed one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings to earn his first stateside win. Alexander Martinez entered in the ninth with Ogden threatening and allowed a hit and a walk before nailing down his Pioneer League-leading sixth save.

Dodgers 18th-round pick Niko Hulsizer doubled twice and drove in a run for the Raptors. Sampen (0-1) surrendered four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. The 20th-round pick in last month's Draft struck out two and did not walk a batter.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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