The Isotopes' offense went positively nuclear on Sunday, and Dom Nunez was the catalyst.
The Rockies catching prospect smacked three homers and collected a career-high six RBIs as Triple-A Albuquerque exploded for a 23-2 victory over Tacoma at Isotopes Park, tying franchise records for runs in a game and victory margin.
Gameday box score
Not only was it Nunez's first hat trick as a professional but the first he can remember, dating all the way back to his high school days. He also said he'd never been a part of a team performance like this -- six homers, 21 hits and 23 runs -- so naturally, he was still a bit in awe after the game.
"It's still like an out-of-body experience for me," he said. "It hasn't even really set in yet."
Nunez wasted no time, sending the second pitch he saw from starter Tyler Danish over the fence in right field to plate Peter Mooney and open a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Ninth-ranked Rockies prospect Sam Hilliard extended his homer streak to four games earlier in the inning and Drew Weeks went yard two batters after Nunez in what ended up a seven-run frame.
The Isotopes put up seven more runs in the third to make it 14-1. Nunez again led the charge, following Hilliard's single and Mooney's double by taking Danish deep to center.
The 24-year-old went hitless until the eighth, when he came up against Penn Murfee. When he stepped into the box, he remembered something teammate Roberto Ramos told him after his second homer.
"He actually got my attention," Nunez said. "He goes, 'Look at me real quick,' and then he said, 'You got one more.'"
Indeed, he did. Down 0-2 against Murfee, Nunez sent a down-and-in fastball out on a liner to right field for the hat trick, the first for Albuquerque since Prentice Redman recorded one on April 18, 2010 and just his second-career multi-homer game.
Video: Albuquerque's Dom Nunez hits his third homer
Nunez entered the game with 56 homers across seven professional seasons. His career high was 13 in 2015 with Class A Asheville in his first full Minor League campaign. He has five in 10 games this season and is batting .375/.512/.906.
The 'Topes totaled six homers among 21 hits, with all nine starters scoring at least once. Ramos, the Rockies' No. 26 prospect, tied the team record with eight RBIs, thanks to an eighth-inning grand slam. The most recent Isotope to drive in eight runs was Jerry Sands on July 29, 2012.
"He had a great day," Nunez said of Ramos. "To cash in eight RBIs is crazy."
2019 Minor League milestones
Hilliard's blast fell a bit under the radar, overshadowed by the 19 runs scored after it. It was his fourth straight game with a homer -- an impressive feat but one that didn't surprise Nunez.
"He's starting to definitely turn it on for him, for sure," he said. "The guy's got some of the most power I've ever seen, so it's not really a surprise to see him do what he's doing. But this is definitely a very cool experience to watch."
Rockies No. 14 prospect Yonathan Daza went 4-for-6, scoring four runs and knocking in two, while 10th-ranked Josh Fuentes was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Third-ranked Peter Lambert (1-1) earned his first win of the season, allowing one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts over five innings.
Tacoma's J.P. Crawford singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.