Jose Briceno knows that in baseball, great effort doesn't always pay immediate results. Sometimes, it does.
"When I woke up today, I said, 'OK, today I'm working on seeing the ball and hitting the ball,'" the Rockies prospect said. "So I was working a little extra in the cage before the game, trying to focus on that."
The outcome? Briceno homered three times, doubled and drove in a career-high seven runs to power Rookie-level Grand Junction to a 12-3 triumph over Orem on Friday night at Sam Suplizio Field.
"I really don't know what happened," he said. "I can't control anything, except to play hard. [Now] I'm feeling great because I've been working every day for this moment."
Briceno started his career night with a two-run double in the bottom of the first after Orem scored twice in the top half. Then he led off the third with a solo shot to left-center, his first homer since July 17, 2012.
The right-handed hitter went the opposite way in his next at-bat, knocking another solo homer with one out in the fifth that extended the Rockies' lead to 7-2. He said he was able to keep a cool head at the plate.
"It's not easy, [but] I don't try for anything," he said. "I only try to hit the ball hard."
The 20-year-old catcher did just that again in the sixth, clubbing a three-run blast to left-center.
"'Wow, I can't believe it!' I said, 'Oh my God.'" he said. "In the next at-bat, I was a little nervous because I've hit three home runs. What could come next? I said, 'Come on, come on, focus.' And I did, but I hit the ball on the ground."
Briceno was thrown out by Owlz shortstop and Angels No. 11 prospect Jose Rendon to complete a 4-for-5 night.
The native of Venezuela signed with the Rockies in 2009 and played the following two seasons in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. He hit .391 with his first two professional homers and five RBIs in a seven-game stint with Grand Junction last summer and batted .303 over 10 games in April with Class A Asheville before being assigned to extended spring training.
"It was really hot, really, really hot in Arizona," Briceno said.
He hopes the breakout game is the start of a good stretch, but he has no intention of sitting around thinking about it.
"Tonight was great for me and I feel really good, but I'm focused more on tomorrow," Briceno said. "Tonight is tonight; tomorrow is a new day, so I'm passed the present moment. I'm going to come here and start working at the same time."
Terry McClure, the Rockies' eighth-round pick in this month's Draft, stole his fifth base in four games. Devin Burke, who signed with Colorado after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech, allowed one hit and struck out six over five innings of scoreless relief to improve to 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two appearances.
Rondon doubled, singled and scored a run for Orem.