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Spikes' Bosco cycles in eighth game
Selected by Cards in 13th round, NAIA product starting strong
06/26/2013 11:43 PM ET
Jimmy Bosco is 15-for-35 for a .429 average in eight pro games.
Jimmy Bosco is 15-for-35 for a .429 average in eight pro games. (Mark Olson/MiLB.com)

Less than a month after becoming the first Menlo College baseball player to accept NAIA All-American honors, Jimmy Bosco etched his name into another team's history book Wednesday.

A day after hitting his first professional home run, the Cardinals' 2013 13th round Draft pick became the first in short-season State College history to hit for the cycle in a 6-1 victory over Mahoning Valley.

The 22-year-old went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. The center fielder has been off to an outstanding start for the Spikes, hitting .429 with a 1.316 OPS in his first eight games as a pro. He has eight extra-base hits.

The leadoff man knocked out the cycle's most difficult legs early, tripling in his first at-bat and belting a home run to left-center field in the third inning. He added a single in the top of the fourth to step within a double of the feat.

He flew out to center in the top of the sixth, and stepped to bat with two outs in the eighth knowing it was likely his last try at the cycle. The left-handed hitter drove a ball into the gap in right-center field and strolled into second with a standup double.

"I just wanted to have a quality at-bat," he said. "It was kind of going through my head that if it happened, it happened. If not, I wanted to at least have a good approach. Nothing changes. It doesn't change anything as far as the situation."

The cycle was Bosco's second -- the first came in a summer ball game when he was 14. The Granite Bay, Calif., native originally attended the University of California-Berkeley, but transferred after his freshman year amid rumors that the program would fold.

He ended up at the University of Arkansas, where he battled for playing time and hit .262 as a part-time player. Seeking a full-time role, the outfielder returned to northern California to Menlo, where he hit .426 and led the Oaks in nearly every statistical category.

His .805 slugging percentage was tops in the nation, and in addition to becoming the first Menlo ballplayer to earn first-team All-American honors, he also took home the NAIA's West Player of the Year award and a conference Gold Glove award.

The performance was enough to get him noticed by the Cardinals, who snared him in the 13th round of this year's Draft.

"Jimmy Bosco is a really exciting talent," Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz told MLB.com after the Draft. "He's really fast -- he ran a 6.3 [60-yard dash] in our workout in California, which is almost world-class speed. He flashes some power. He plays the game really similar to a guy like [Brett] Gardner. He's got some upside."

The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has benefited from his varied college experience. His everyday play at Menlo helped him refine his game and build confidence, but he's also seen Division I competition at Arkansas and has a better idea of what to expect from that.

"People throw slightly harder," he said of the New York-Penn League. "They make better plays. They're slightly smarter. It's just kind of a continuous pyramid, per se, that continues upward into the upper ranks of the Minor Leagues.

"Players continue to get better. I played at the University of Arkansas for several years, and they threw hard there and that was comparable. This is very good, competitive baseball. It's been a good adjustment."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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