When Joey Meneses got himself the chance to hit for the cycle on Saturday night, he had extra reason not to let it slide by.
"It was Mother's Day in Mexico and I wanted to give this beautiful gift to her for Mother's Day," the native of Culiacan said. "She and my father were playing with me in my heart."
Meseses delivered the gift, finishing his 4-for-5 performance with a seventh-inning home run. He drove in three runs and scored twice in Class A Rome's 13-2 romp over visiting Asheville.
The 22-year-old infield prospect became the second player to hit for the cycle in franchise history, following Gerry Rodriguez, who completed the feat on May 27, 2009. With Braves coach Nestor Perez translating, Meneses said the game was sure to be among his most treasured on-field memories.
"No doubt about it," he said. "This was the first time ever in my life I hit for the cycle, and it was the most exciting day in my career so far."
He'd had an inkling before the game that it would be a good one but was surprised at exactly how good it turned out to be.
"We had batting practice in the cage because it was raining and we couldn't hit on the field," Meneses said. "I was feeling good, feeling like I would have a good night. But, for sure, I was not thinking I would hit for the cycle."
Meneses grounded out in the first inning but was unstoppable thereafter. Facing Tourists starter Zach Jemiola, he doubled in a run in the second and -- with a runner on first base in the third -- he drove a ball to the gap in right-center field for his first triple of the season.
"At that time, I wasn't thinking about the cycle. I was just running hard," he said. "I hit the ball to the opposite field and was running hard to get third base."
After he singled off reliever Logan Norris in the fifth, Meneses was thinking about the cycle, although none of his teammates mentioned it.
"Nobody told me, but I knew I needed a home run to hit for the cycle," he said.
The non-drafted free agent stepped in with one out in the seventh against reliever Matt Carasiti.
"I went up there looking for a good pitch to hit, and I hit hard," Meneses said.
The ball cleared the left-field fence and Meneses was in ecstatic shock as he circled the bases.
"I just couldn't believe it," he said. "I couldn't believe it."
As though to validate Meneses' disbelief, when he got back to the dugout, his teammates acted as if nothing happened.
"They played a joke wtih me a little bit. Everybody stayed quiet," he said. "It was like, 'What's going on here?' Then everyone jumped on me after a minute."
While Meneses had an historic night, Ronald Luna drove in four runs for Rome.
Eighth-ranked Rockies prospect Raimel Tapia contributed two hits for Asheville, while Wilfredo Rodriguez went 4-for-4.