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Point Park baseball alum Don Kelly named MLB Postseason X-Factor by MLB.com

Oct. 4, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET

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Photo courtesy of Detroit Tigers.

 

PITTSBURGH -- MLB.com has named Point Park University baseball alum Don Kelly an MLB postseason X-factor for his Detroit Tigers in a story published Sept. 26, 2013. Visit MLB.com for the story here.

Kelly, who was an NAIA First-Team All-American shortstop during his time at Point Park from 1999-01, is in the MLB playoffs for the third year in a row with the Tigers.

MLB.com asked its beat writers to pick an X-factor player from they teams they cover. Kelly was identified from the Tigers, who won the AL Central title and open up their AL Division Series tonight (Oct. 4) at Oakland. Game 1 begins at 9:30 p.m. ET.

It's no surprise that Kelly was picked as a key factor in the postseason. He has had his share of playoff heroics including a big home run in Game 5 of the AL Division Series at Yankee Stadium in 2011. Kelly also came up big with a walk-off sacrifice fly to win Game 2 of the AL Division Series versus Oakland in 2012.

Kelly was drafted by the Tigers in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB draft. He made his big league debut with his hometown Pirates in 2007 before spending the next couple of years in the minors.

He was the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens' Player of the Year in 2009 and finished second in the International League with a .331 batting average that year. That performance made him a late-season call up to the majors in 2009, and he has been with the Tigers ever since.

A left-handed bat off the bench and a very strong player defensively, Kelly has found a home in Detroit as a do-it-all utility player. He sees most of his time as a corner outfielder and is a main option for manager Jim Leyland versus right-handed pitching.

Kelly was inducted into Point Park's Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, and he still holds the school record for career batting average at .413. Kelly's final year at Point Park in 2001 saw him hit .450 with 45 RBIs and 39 stolen bases in 45 games to earn NAIA First-Team All-American honors at shortstop.

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RELATED LINKS -- MLB Postseason Heroics of Don Kelly

Oct. 7, 2012 -- Don Kelly's walk-off sacrifice fly to win Game 2 of ALDS vs. Oakland

Oct. 6, 2011 -- Don Kelly's home run in 2011 ALDS Game 5 at Yankee Stadium