Clippers' Stamets belts home run hat trick

Indians shortstop prospect registers three leadoff long balls

Eric Stamets has hit seven of his nine homers this season in his past 11 games. (Andy Grosh/MiLB.com)

By Michael Peng / MiLB.com | June 17, 2017 12:00 AM ET

When leading off an inning, all Eric Stamets wants to do is get on base for his teammates.

"Being the type of player I am, I just wanted to be a baserunner," he said.

The Indians' shortstop prospect ended up doing more trotting as he belted three leadoff home runs in Triple-A Columbus' 7-6 win over Gwinnett on Friday at Huntington Park.


Gameday box score


"It feels unbelievable," Stamets said. "Obviously, that's not something that happens every day, so when it does happen, it feels pretty good."

The 25-year-old launched his first two shots to left field against Braves No. 18 prospect Lucas Sims in the second and fourth innings, before taking reliever David Peterson deep in the sixth.

Video: Columbus' Stamets hits three leadoff HRs

"I was just trying to look for good pitches that I can put the barrel on the ball, and it worked," Stamets said.

The long balls have come in bunches recently for the 2012 sixth-round pick. Stamets had consecutive two-homer games on May 28-29 against Norfolk, and with nine roundtrippers this season, he's surpassed the seven swatted across two levels last season. 

2017 Minor League milestones

"I'm not someone who normally hits home runs," the Dublin, Ohio, native said. "To hit two in a game was something I had never done before and when I hit the third one, I couldn't believe it, really."

Stamets had a chance to make history with family and friends in attendance when he led off the eighth, but grounded out to third base after a six-pitch at-bat against Mauricio Cabrera.

"They thought it was unbelievable," Stamets said. "Some of them had never seen anyone hit three homers before, so it was pretty special that I was the one to do it."

The University of Evansville product raised his batting average 17 points to .297. This came after a 1-for-28 start over 10 games in April.

MiLB include

"I'm just trying to stay within myself," said Stamets, who batted .397 in May and is hitting .371 in June. "Anything I try to do too much, I'm working against myself. So, I'm just keeping it simple, trying to keep a nice, smooth swing and just put the barrel on the ball."

Despite Stamets' heroics, the Clippers needed Chris Colabello's walk-off double in the ninth that scored Xavier Avery.

"It was awesome," Stamets said. "Obviously, it's nice anytime you can get a win, but a walk-off win like that, there's no better feeling, really."

Columbus also got homers from Tyler Naquin and Richie Shaffer, while David Speer picked up his first win of the season with two innings of scoreless relief.

Michael Peng is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelXPeng. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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