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Yakubik hits for Owlz's latest cycle
Angels prospect completes feat with first professional homer
08/14/2011 2:16 AM ET
Jerod Yakubik leads the Pioneer League with a .395 batting average in 43 games.
Jerod Yakubik leads the Pioneer League with a .395 batting average in 43 games. (Orem Owlz)
Jerod Yakubik made his first professional homer a memorable one.

With the game tied in the eighth inning Saturday, the Angels prospect went deep for the first time in his career to complete the cycle and send the Rookie-level Orem Owlz past the Casper Ghosts, 11-10.

The cycle was the Owlz's second in a week as Taylor Lindsey accomplished the feat on Aug. 6.

"I'm still kind of taking it all in now. It feels great," Yakubik said. "The biggest thing is we got a win out of it; that trumps everything else. As far as the cycle, it's the first one I've ever had and it was my first professional home run. It was kind of a memorable night for me."

Yakubik singled in the first and doubled in the fourth. He hit a triple in the sixth after center fielder David Kandilas -- who hit for the cycle himself on June 24 -- tried to make a diving catch.

"I was thinking single," Yakubik said. "It was a soft flare into center field. I saw [Kandilas] coming in on it and going hard, and he dove and I saw it bounced and trickled by him. At that point, I was thinking triple. With the left fielder and right fielder converging on it, I was able to get there standing up."

The unlikely triple set the stage for Yakubik's final at-bat of the night. Describing his mind-set as "doing everything I could to try to get on base," he took a 1-2 pitch from reliever Russell Brewer over the right-field wall -- the first time he left the yard in 373 pro at-bats.

"I hadn't seen anything else but the cutter, so I was geared up for it," he said. "It was down the middle, it was a good pitch. I got my bat started early and was able to pull my hands in and I got enough of it to send it over the right-field wall."

Yakubik said it was a relief to finally get the monkey off his back by going deep.

"It was a knock here around the clubhouse that I hadn't had a homer yet," said the Angels' 34th-round pick in the 2010 Draft. "It felt great. And to do it in a meaningful game and to put my team up and get the win, words can't describe how I feel."

Yakubik leads the Pioneer League with a .395 batting average in 43 games. He has recorded multi-hit performances in each of his last nine games, batting .526 (20-for-38) during that stretch.

"This is a team that's fun to hit with," Yakubik said. "You can pick up things from other guys. I'm getting back to basics, getting stuff done early in terms of my stride and working on using my hands more. I'm just trying to simplify things, honestly."

Yakubik said his goal for the rest of the season is to help Orem make the playoffs and, hopefully, make some noise from there.

"Our main goal is to get in the second half and I want to just continue to ride this wave I'm on here and continue doing what I'm doing," he said. "Hopefully, we get in there and play Ogden, who we've seen a lot this year. I think we've got the club to do it. We've got the pitching, we've definitely got the hitting to win the playoffs and get rings in the spring when we come back."

David Heck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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