Peoria's Paul Hoilman has a flair for the dramatic that was on display in his race for team history Tuesday.
Hoilman singled in his last at-bat to extend his hitting streak to 21 games as the Class A Chiefs defeated the Quad Cities River Bandits, 7-2. It's the longest consecutive run this year in pro baseball.
The right-handed hitter lined a pitch into left field against Robert Stock in his fifth at-bat, the third time during the streak he's extended it in his final at-bat. Selected by the Cubs in the 19th round of last June's Draft, Hoilman said he wasn't worried about the streak possibly coming to an end in the eighth inning.
"The only thing that crossed my mind was if they gave me something to hit, I was planning on getting it done," he said.
Hoilman, who plated a run with a groundout in the fourth, was unaware that he had matched a Chiefs record held by Kerry Robinson, who hit in 21 straight in 1996, and Jack Wilson, who managed the feat in 1999.
"Awesome," Hoilman said upon learning the news. "I've been trying not to think about it too much, trying to have a good at-bat every time. It's been fun. The thing about that is you just put pressure on yourself. I try not to look at the stat sheet, I just try and go up there and put good swings on the ball."
When the streak began April 14, the 23-year-old first baseman was batting .136. Since then he's raised his average to .303, and over the 21 games, he is hitting .353 with three homers and 22 RBIs.
"That's very important," Hoilman said of the stat boost. "I'm a first baseman, so I'm supposed to be hitting and driving in runs. I felt good coming out here, but things weren't falling for me. I was making adjustments and working with our hitting coach Barbaro Garbey. I tried to take a good mental approach; it's the mentality you take as much as anything."
Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-6 with three RBIs while Brad Zapenas reached base three times and scored twice for Peoria.
Jose Rosario (2-3) gave up two runs while scattering 10 hits over five innings to earn the win.