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Aliotti hits three homers, drives in eight05/19/2013 12:41 AM ET
By Jake Seiner / Special to MLB.com
Just about the only thing missing from Anthony Aliotti's Texas League resume prior to this season was a power surge befitting the first base position. He's clobbered enough pitches to assuage some doubts so. And on Saturday, he put together a night sluggers dream about.
Aliotti hit three homers and drove in a career-high eight runs to power the Double-A Midland RockHounds to a 12-4 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks at CitiBank Ballpark.
"That was the night of my life," Aliotti told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
The 25-year-old first baseman went 4-for-5, adding a double in the historic performance. The three-homer game was Aliotti's first as a pro and the second in the Texas League this season -- Corpus Christi's Domingo Santana performed the feat on May 10 against Frisco.
Aliotti's only other multi-homer game was last July 28 when he went deep twice for Midland. His previous career high was six RBIs last July 14.
The left-handed hitter connected for his first homer in the bottom of the first inning off Corpus Christi starter Nick Tropeano. It scored Conner Crumbliss, who hit three homers for Midland last Aug. 16, and put the RockHounds up, 2-0.
"I got a good pitch in the first at-bat and I got a good swing on it," Aliotti told the newspaper. "I don't have the most home run juice, so when they go, they go."
In the the third, Crumbliss led off with a single and D'Arby Myers doubled. Aliotti followed with a double of his own that plated Myers before scoring on Jake Goebbert's sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 5-0.
Aliotti's third homer followed Myers' two-run triple in the fourth. And his third was a two-run shot in the sixth off sidewinding southpaw Kenny Long, who posed a unique challenge.
"I don't hit left-handers for power very often," Aliotti said. "When I hit it, the wind was blowing out a little bit and it went. It was all smiles around the bases."
The 2009 15th-round draft pick out of St. Mary's College is repeating the Texas League after finding success last season. He hit .292 with a .385 on-base percentage and .811 OPS. All he was lacking was power with 10 homers among 40 extra-base hits in 123 games -- totals not quite befitting a corner infielder.
The power has been more apparent this year for the 25-year-old, who has seven homers, 13 doubles and 32 RBIs in 42 games. His average is a robust .376 and his slugging percentage is .592, up 166 points from last season. Aliotti is tied for the league lead with a 1.069 OPS and ranks among the leaders in doubles, homers, RBIs and walks.
"He took advantage of some mistakes up in the zone," Midland manager Aaron Nieckula told the Midland Register-Times. "He's hitting the ball well. The kid's hot. He's proven he can put quality [at-bats] on a consistent basis, minimize his bad [at-bats] and make adjustments from pitch to pitch from both righties and lefties. He's proven he's a quality hitter."