After catching the public eye with a strong performance during the 2016 World Series, IU alumnus Kyle Schwarber returned to the national spotlight Monday night.
The Chicago Cubs outfielder participated in the Home Run Derby in Washington, D.C., as a part of the MLB’s All-Star Game festivities.
In the opening round, Schwarber was pitted against Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros. Schwarber got out to a slow start, hitting just four home runs before taking his timeout a minute-and-a-half into the four-minute round. Following the timeout, Schwarber clubbed 12 home runs, ending the round with a total of 16 to set the bar for Bregman.
Bregman followed up Schwarber’s round by hitting 15 homers, falling just short as his final batted ball bounced off the wall.
That victory set up a showdown with Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins in the semifinal round. Hoskins opened up the matchup by slugging an impressive 20 home runs, but Schwarber was up to the challenge.
Over the first two-and-a-half minutes of his round, the Ohio native hit 12 home runs. Following a timeout, Schwarber proceeded to hit nine more homers to close out his round, slugging the winning home run as the clock expired.
After prevailing against Hoskins, Schwarber squared off with Bryce Harper of the hometown Washington Nationals in the finals.
Schwarber led off the matchup, smashing 18 home runs to set the bar for Harper.
The hometown hero got off to a slow start, hitting nine home runs before taking a timeout with a minute and 20 seconds left in the round. Following the timeout, Harper got hot, managing to tie Schwarber at 18 home runs as his original four-minute clock expired. However, the slugger had earned a 30-second time bonus by hitting two home runs longer than 440 feet. In that bonus time, Harper slugged a 19th homer to take the victory.
Overall, Schwarber hit 55 home runs on the night, launching several of those over 440 feet. He put on a show, hitting homers to the second and even third deck at Nationals Park.
The former Hoosier will look to add on to his 18 home runs this season Thursday when the Cubs take on the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.