Alex De Leon hadn't had a multi-hit game in five outings this year. So he wasn't expecting the first one to be a three-homer game that set a record for his short-season team.
Smacking three long balls in Class A Short Season State College's 10-3 romp over Batavia on Sunday marked the first time in Spikes' history that a player went yard three times.
"It felt great," the Cardinals infield prospect said. "That was probably my first three-homer game in my life. I had a few multi-homer games, but never three."
The 23-year-old blasted solo shots in the first and sixth innings, then rounded out his evening with a two-run homer in the seventh. After driving in four runs, De Leon sits third among his teammates with seven RBIs thus far in the young season.
"I got into some good hitters' counts early; the first one was on a 3-2 fastball," the California native said. "I hit my first one and that put the pressure off. Once I had the first two, I just felt relaxed at the plate."
After striking out three times in the first two games of the season, De Leon worked on improving his pitch selection -- and only whiffed once in the past four games. In doing so, the Kansas product recorded his first multi-hit game of the season and the second three-hit game of his career.
De Leon led his Jayhawks teammates with 16 two-out RBIs his junior season. That trend continued Sunday as two of his dingers against the Muckdogs came with two outs.
"Once I got that first hit -- or home run -- out of the way, I was really seeing the ball well and got good hitters' counts," he said. "Sometimes when things aren't going so well you try to swing too hard, but I didn't have to do that tonight."
The 2013 Draft pick also helped propel the Spikes to another club record. With his homers and shots by Jhohan Acevedo, Danny Diekroeger and Rowan Wick, State College blasted a club-record six dingers.
"It was pretty awesome to see, everyone was swinging the bat well. Acevedo got it started in the first, then mine and Diekroeger had one and Wick -- that guy's always hitting a homer," the cleanup hitter said. "Everyone was excited to play. We got on them early. We relaxed, but put pressure on them the whole game."
His home run was Wick's New York-Penn League-leading seventh of the campaign.
Spikes reliever Jeff Barkley (1-0) allowed one run on two hits over three frames en route to his first career win.
In his second start of the season, Yeims Mendoza (0-3) yielded four runs on five hits over four frames.