Former Beaver Brian Barden hit his first major league home run last night-- and it proved to be the difference as his team, the St. Louis Cardinals, defeated the Arizona Cardinals 2-1 on Monday night in Phoenix.
Barden's opposite-field home run came in the top of the eighth inning with Arizona's Doug Davis on the hill. The Diamondbacks drafted Barden in 2002, before giving up on him several years later.
Barden is in the mix along with two other players at third base for the Cardinals-- he got the opening day start, but has only started one other game since, playing in about a third of the innings for St. Louis. He has also played sparingly at second base.
Barden came to Oregon State in 2000 from San Diego and played for the Beavers until 2002, when he was drafted in the sixth round by Arizona. He is tied for fourth in Oregon State history with a .362 career batting average, and his 231 hits stand fourth. His 39 doubles are sixth, while his 25 home runs are tied for sixth. He also drove in 154 runs in his three seasons in Corvallis, placing him third.
The story behind Brian's arrival at Oregon State and ascension into the Major Leagues is amazing, considering he was a walk-on. He also played for Team USA in the Olympics in Beijing last summer.
"When I was coming out of high school, I didn't have a scholarship anywhere," said Brian in an interview before the summer Olympics. "Coach Casey and Coach Spencer gave me the chance to walk-on and gave me an opening-day spot at third base. If they hadn't given me that opportunity, I wouldn't be in this spot. Going from there to here and being in this spot to represent my country, it's just been a great ride. Hopefully after the Olympics are over, I can get the shot to play in the big leagues and follow that up with a decent Major League career."
Barden spent several years in the minor leagues before getting his major league debut on April 3 of 2007.
"When I made the [Diamondbacks in 2007] , it was the greatest thing ever. It made my dad so proud of me. To see it in his eyes was a great feeling. Being there on Opening Day, being a part of that, was something I'll never forget."