Until Saturday, Tony Plagman had never hit two homers in a game. He liked getting to two so much, he decided to go for three.
The Tigers prospect slugged a career-high three homers and drove in eight runs to power the Double-A Erie SeaWolves to an 11-6 victory over the Altoona Curve at Jerry Uht Park.
Plagman jumped all over Altoona starter Brandon Cumpton, hitting a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the fourth. He delivered an RBI single in the fifth, an ining before taking Jhonathan Ramos deep with the bases loaded.
"Well, I had seen him [Cumpton] a couple of times this year and I had a good idea of the pitches he throws," Plagman said. "I got ahead, 2-0, and got a fastball and I made good contact. That second at-bat, I had a 1-0 count and he threw me a changeup and I got on it pretty good."
The grand slam obliterated the 24-year-old outfielder previous career high of five RBIs, established last July 29 for Class A Advanced Lakeland. It also completed the SeaWolves' first three-homer game since Wilkin Ramirez did it on May 26, 2010.
"It's a great feeling, obviously. It's probably the best game I've ever had," Plagman said. "I'm just grateful that I was able to have a good game like that. There are a lot of things that go through your mind, but you try to stay in the game. You might get a couple of more at-bats."
Plagman had been struggling in his first trip through the Eastern League, batting .167 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 25 games. The Georgia Tech product is hoping Saturday's explosion will provide a jump-start to his season.
"I started off this season pretty slow and I feel like this game is going to turn this season around," he said. "I needed a good game to get the numbers up and get the confidence up as well. When you start the season off slow, it's tough. It's a long season and you know you're going to get a lot of at-bats, and I think it's going to boost this season."
Plagman was selected in the ninth round of the 2010 Draft and batted .272 with five homers and 35 RBIs in his pro debut with Class A West Michigan. A year ago, he led the Class A Advanced Florida State League with 97 RBIs, hitting .257 with 18 homers in 137 games.
Overshadowed by Plagman's big night was Niuman Romero, who was 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored. Jordan Lennerton chipped in an RBI double.
Robbie Grossman, the Pirates' No. 8 prospect, homered and scored three times in a losing effort.