Houston infield prospect Chan Moon did more than just set the tone at the top of the Lancaster lineup Wednesday evening. He sparked a comeback and delivered the decisive blow.
The leadoff hitter went 5-for-6 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored as the Class A Advanced JetHawks overturned an early 8-0 deficit and recorded their biggest comeback of the season to topple the Inland Empire 66ers, 15-12.
The 23-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea singled to lead off the first and third innings and added another to right field in the fourth. He cracked a three-run homer to right to fuel the comeback in the seventh before snapping a 12-12 tie with a go-ahead RBI single with one out in the eighth.
"It was unbelievable," said Moon, who raised his average to .339 in the victory. "It was really difficult to follow that score. But nobody gave up. We just played our game. We got a couple scores, then a couple scores and a couple scores.
"I have never had five hits in my baseball career. I got a three-run homer and then I got the winning RBI and we won. It's plus, plus exciting."
The JetHawks trailed in the third, 8-0, and after six, 10-5, but they plated four runs in the seventh and took the lead with a six-run eighth.
The 16 runs fell one short of tying a season high, but the comeback surpassed the previous season high of five, which they did twice, most recently May 26 against the 66ers. In that game, Dan Gulbransen hit a grand slam to tie the game. On Wednesday, Gulbransen, serving as the team's designated hitter, tied the game with a three-run long ball.
It was Moon's first five-hit game and the 10th in the California League this year. His four RBIs fell short of his career best of six, set on a two-homer night in Lancaster's 13-5 win over Lake Elsinore on June 27.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Astros in 2009, the switch-hitting shortstop is the fourth JetHawk to record a five-hit game this year. Top Astros prospect Carlos Correa went 5-for-6 against High Desert on May 10, Conrad Gregor was 5-for-5 against the 66ers on June 4 and No. 19 Danry Vasquez collected five hits on a perfect day at the dish against Rancho Cucamonga on June 11.
"[The homer] was on a 3-1 count," Moon said. "At 2-1, [Michael Smith] threw me a changeup that I took. But at 3-1, he threw me a hanging fastball and I didn't miss it. It was a hard hit, good contact, but it was low like a line drive. I thought it was a double or a triple.
"Before when I was hitting, I was thinking too much. Starting yesterday, I was not thinking. Just see the ball and hit the ball."
Lancaster first baseman Gregor smacked a third-inning grand slam, his eighth California League homer, and right fielder Vasquez and second baseman Jack Mayfield collected three hits apiece.
Inland Empire first baseman Dennis Raben went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and six RBIs and shortstop Jose Rondon was 4-for-5 with a pair of triples, two RBIs and a run.