Steve Proscia and the High Desert Mavericks watched the Yankees' Curtis Granderson hit three home runs on TV before their game Thursday. At the end of the night, Proscia's teammates had given him a new nickname -- "Curtis."
The Mariners' infield prospect had a night that rivaled Granderson's, hitting the ball out of the park three times and knocking in five runs as Class A Advanced High Desert defeated the Inland Empire 66ers, 14-8.
The game marked the first time in Proscia's career that he had launched three longballs, but it did not set a new RBI standard. The 21-year-old enjoyed a two-homer, six-RBI performance against Rancho Cucamonga Aug. 30, 2011, and he also knocked in five against Lancaster last July 22.
"This is definitely a first for me," said Proscia, who is batting .356 with four longballs and 11 RBIs this season. "This is probably the best I've ever played offensively."
Proscia started his night out with an RBI single in the first, then followed it up with a two-run homer off 66ers starter Max Russell in the second. He took Russell deep again leading off the fifth, helping to chase the 23-year-old left-hander after he gave up 13 runs -- eight earned -- in 4 1/3 innings.
"The first one, he gave me changeup that he left up the zone and I put a good swing on it," Proscia said. "That was pretty much it for that one.
"The second one was kind of lucky on my part. He threw a changeup that kind of fooled me, but I was able to keep my hands back and threw my bat out there. It was kind of a wall-scraper, but it went out."
Proscia made his only out of the night to lead off the sixth, when he popped out to shortstop against reliever Baudilio Lopez. But in his final at-bat, he got the better of the right-hander, stroking a solo shot over the center-field wall.
"He threw me a 1-1 slider and I just put a good swing on that one," Prosica said. "I didn't think that one was gone -- I was sprinting out of the box."
Proscia's teammates had been laughing with him about potentially replicating Granderson's feat just a few hours later. When he actually did it, the joke only continued.
"Before the game, we were watching the Yankee game and we saw Granderson hit three home runs," Proscia said. "They were teasing me, saying, 'Are you gonna do the Curtis Granderson?' And when I actually hit the third one, they were calling me 'Curtis.'"
Selected in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft, Proscia has dominated left-handers throughout his career. Last season, he hit .400 with six homers in 60 at-bats against southpaws, and this year, he's hitting .500 with three longballs in 14 at-bats.
But even though he knew a lefty would be on the mound for Inland Empire on Thursday, the University of Virginia product didn't pay much attention to it.
"I really don't think too much of it," Proscia said. "Obviously, lefty-on-righty is a lot easier on a righty to see the ball. You can see it a lot longer through the zone, as opposed to a righty [pitcher]. I just look for my pitch and if I get it, I swing at it."
James Jones went 2-for-3 with a homer, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored out of the No. 8 spot for the Mavs.
Meanwhile, No. 6 Angels prospect Taylor Lindsey did most of the heavy lifting for the 66ers. The 2010 first-round pick homered and drove in a career-high six runs, more than doubling his season RBI total from four to 10.
With an historic offensive night in the books, what will Proscia do for an encore Friday?
"Try to get a base hit," he said. "I'm just going to try to do what my team needs me to do. It depends on what the situation is. I look for the situation and try to hit for the situation. If no one is on, I just try to get one base. That's pretty much it."