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ASU in the Pros Series: Recounting Jason Kipnis’s first trip to the World Series

The Chicago-born Sun Devil made his World Series debut against the Cubs in 2016.

World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game Seven Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As a two-time MLB All Star and former All-American and 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Jason Kipnis, couldn’t help but think, “why does it have to be the Cubs?”

The Chicago suburb native and once die hard Chicago Cubs fan said he “didn’t know how to handle it... I didn’t know how to think,” in an interview with Outside Pitch Sports Network.

In his sixth season as a big leaguer, Kipnis found himself in the 2016 World Series facing the Chicago Cubs. He was in a situation he once dreamed of being in — at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the game on the line — but he wasn’t in blue pinstripes.

Though it wasn’t quite bottom of the ninth, two outs, Kipnis managed to make his mark at Wrigley Field with this three-run shot, as a Cleveland Indian.

It was one of his team-leading four postseason home runs that carried the Indians to what seemed an arm reach away from a World Series Championship.

Kipnis’s power did make up for the fact that he hit a playoff average of .230. He also tied a team-high three doubles and posted an impressive .475 slugging percentage.

Of his four postseason home runs, two of them gave the Indians the lead. Against the Blue Jays in the ALCS, Kipnis’s solo shot can be viewed here. Against the Red Sox in the ALDS, Kipnis broke a 2-2 tie here.

Transitioning from his postseason heroics, Kipnis suffered a shoulder injury where he missed the first three weeks of the 2017 season. Now, he’s batting .226 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 42 games this season.

At Arizona State, Kipnis competed in the postseason twice. In 2009, Kipnis entered the College World Series with ASU as the No. 5 overall seed. The Sun Devils failed to reach Omaha in 2008 and fell in the semifinals to Texas in 2009.

ASU Stats:

2008: 62 GP, .371 BA, .667 SLG%, .485 OBP%, 51 BB, 76 R, 16 2B, 6 3B, 14 HR, 78 RBI, .993 FLD%

2009: 63 GP, .384 BA, .709 SLG %, .497 OBP%, 51 BB, 76 R, 13 2B, 4 3B, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 1.000 FLD%