Olson plays hero for Ports on five-hit night

A's prospect belts two homers, including walk-off shot in 11th inning

Matt Olson has 30 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs through 69 California League games. (Stockton Ports)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | June 20, 2014 3:40 AM ET

Considering all the feats Matt Olson pulled off in Thursday night's game, you would think he'd be spared teasing about the one thing he narrowly missed out on -- hitting for the cycle. No such luck.

"A couple teammates were joking with me about that," said Oakland's fifth-ranked prospect. "The thing is, if you've seen me running around the bases, you know [the ball] would have to take a couple of kicks around the wall before I'd have a chance at a triple."

Although a three-bagger eluded Olson, the 20-year-old first basemen did smack his second homer of the game, a walk-off shot in the 11th inning in Class A Advanced Stockton's 8-7 comeback win over visiting Bakersfield. He finished 5-for-6 for five RBIs and three runs scored.

"This is probably one of the best nights I've ever had in baseball," the 2012 first-rounder said. "I'm just excited. That might be my first walk-off hit ever, for as long as I've been playing baseball." 

The hits and RBIs were career highs for Olson. He's had three previous two-homer games -- on May 13 against San Jose and twice last season with Class A Beloit.

Olson's big performance came in the California League's return to action after breaking for the Carolina/California All-Star Game on Saturday.

"It was just nice to get back after the break and take some time to slow things down, mentally and physically," said Olson, who was not on the Cal roster. "I came into the game refreshed and feeling good."

It showed in the bottom half of the first inning when he socked a two-out, two-run double off Drew Cisco following a grand slam by the Blaze's David Vidal earlier in the frame.

The two homers put the Georgia native alone in the circuit lead with 17 home runs. He led off the sixth inning with the first one, taking Cisco's first offering over the wall in right-center field to tie the game. He gave the Ports a one-run lead with an RBI single off reliever Jake Johnson in the next inning.

After Stockton scored three in the top of the eighth, Olson got his first crack at the cycle against Ben Klimesh in the ninth. The left-handed hitter poked a single through the right side and ended up scoring the tying run to send the game into extra innings.

"Obviously, you check out how the game is going down and you have to mentally prepare yourself for an at-bat," he said. "I knew I'd be coming up again and I was ready for that last at-bat."

He dug in against Jimmy Moran to lead off the 10th, taking a called strike on the outer half and two balls outside.

"I went up there and didn't know if they were going to throw around me at all," Olson said. "Those first three pitches were all kind of away, and then he came in to me [with a fastball] and I got a good swing on it."

The ball cleared the fence in left field and Olson had a pretty good idea that it might from the moment he made contact.

"I thought that it had the chance to get out," he said. "That's actually the first time that I've thought that on one that went [opposite field]."

Making his way around the bases, Olson saw his teammates rush out of the dugout.

"It was definitely cool, having everybody excited and waiting to mob you," he said.

Renato Nunez, who's ranked directly behind Olson in the A's system, belted his 10th long ball of the season.

Vidal finished with five RBIs for Bakersfield.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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