Veteran outfielder Joe Borchard had a game for the ages at Security Service Field on Monday night, hitting for the cycle and driving in six runs as Fresno pounded host Colorado Springs, 14-4.
Borchard went 5-for-6 with his fifth homer of the season, his second triple and his third double. His six RBIs propelled him into a tie for the Pacific Coast League lead with 22, while his .367 batting average ranks third on the circuit.
It was Borchard's first time hitting for the cycle as a pro, he told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
"I think at at any level," he clarified. "It was one of those nights when I got good pitches to hit and I was able to connect. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way."
The 31-year-old got the Grizzlies off to a hot start with a one-out bases-clearing triple in the first inning. It was his 14th in 1,084 professional games. He later scored on a double by Jesus Guzman. Fresno sent 10 men to the plate in the inning and jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Borchard singled to lead off the third inning and legged out an infield hit in the fifth before driving a two-out RBI double to left in the sixth.
He came to the plate with one on and one out in the eighth in one of the most homer-friendly ballparks in the game.
"It was on my mind a little bit," Borchard said. "I was just focused on having good at-bats and I got good pitches to hit. The guys in front of me deserve credit for getting on base. It seemed like there was always someone on."
He got a very good at-bat indeed, sending an Edgmer Escalona pitch high over the left-field wall and into the record books.
The longball gave Fresno, which has won five straight on the road, an 11-4 lead in a game that was never in doubt. The first-place Grizzlies improved to 16-8 behind an 18-hit attack and a strong outing from starter Eric Hacker, who earned his fifth victory in as many starts. Hacker allowed two runs on six hits while striking out seven in six innings.
In the ninth, Borchard came up with two outs and a chance to become the first player in Fresno history to collect six hits in a game. He had to settle for matching the record after flying out to center on a two-strike pitch from Sky Sox reliever Juan Rincon.
The cycle was the third of the 2010 season in the Minor Leagues and the second in three days, following Scott Cousins of New Orleans, who accomplished the feat Saturday night. Jarrett Hoffpauir amassed the first cycle of the year for Las Vegas on April 25.
A California native, Borchard was a state champion quarterback in high school and played QB for Stanford. He was the Chicago White Sox's first-round pick -- 12th overall -- in 2000, signing for a then-record $5.3 million bonus. He made his Major League debut with the White Sox in September 2002 and also spent time in the Majors with Seattle and Florida. 2010 marks his second season with the Grizzlies.