With a clubhouse full of sick teammates, Corey Dickerson was lucky just to be healthy enough to play Saturday. Not only did he get in the game, but he played a vital role in the Tourists' historic night.
Dickerson went 4-for-5 with three home runs, six RBIs, a walk and three runs scored as Asheville tied two South Atlantic League records in beating the Hagerstown Suns in a 21-11 slugfest.
Dickerson's night did not seem unusual at first. In fact, he didn't hit the ball out of the infield his first two times up, legging out an RBI infield single in the first inning and grounding out in the third.
"I took some bad swings early in the game, so I made some adjustments in my third at-bat," said Dickerson. "Then I felt locked in."
The Mississippi native clubbed two-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings, and, after drawing a walk in the sixth, he added a solo shot in the seventh.
Dickerson's third longball gave him 30 for the season. No one else in the South Atlantic League has more than 24. He also leads the league with a .638 slugging percentage, and his 62 extra-base hits are just one behind Kannapolis' Dan Black, who leads the the league.
The 22-year-old also hit three home runs in a game against Augusta on June 3. He drove in 10 runs in that contest.
"I actually hit the ball a lot harder tonight," Dickerson noted. "I was feeling good."
Though he was feeling well, many of his teammates were not. "Eleven guys on the team were sick with a stomach virus. Avery Barnes had to leave the game, and we only had one bench player who was not sick," reported Dickerson.
Dickerson homered in three straight games Aug. 20-22, and he has seven homers and 17 RBIs in his last nine games. He is 17-for-36 during that span.
"I was struggling early in the year and also went through a mid-season slump. Now I'm just being patient and trying to hit the fastball. I'm constantly making adjustments," said Dickerson, who was chosen by the Rockies in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft.
Asheville hitters combined for 21 runs on 23 hits in their eight innings on offense. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit, and all except Joey Wong crossed the plate at least once. Brett Tanos hit two home runs, and Tanos, Dickerson and Dustin Garneau led the club with four base knocks apiece.
Despite giving up seven runs (six earned) in only five innings of work, Nick Schnaitmann won his fifth straight start and improved to 6-1.