Left fielder Alex Presley broke a 10-year-old Altoona franchise record on Monday night by driving in eight runs in the Curve's 11-1 rout of the host Akron Aeros. The Pirates prospect went 4-for-5 with two homers, a triple and a double.
For Presley, who leads the Double-A Eastern League with a .379 batting average, it was the culmination of a torrid hitting streak. The former eighth-round Draft pick entered Monday's contest having hit 16-for-40 (.400) in his previous 10 games and with six RBIs in his last four.
"Preparation has been the main thing for me this year, even going back to my workout program in the offseason," Presley said. "I've just been sticking with my approach at the plate and things have gone well."
It was the University of Mississippi product's first multi-homer game as a pro. Presley had driven in five runs twice before in his career, most recently at Akron on April 19. He's now 14-for-33 (.424) with 16 RBIs in eight games against the Aeros this season.
The previous Altoona record for RBIs in a game was seven, set by slugger Adam Hyzdu on May 5, 2000. Hyzdu hit 31 homers and drove in 106 runs that season and had his number retired by the Curve.
"I was kind of zoned out -- I wasn't really counting RBIs," said Presley, who didn't learn that he'd broken the club record until after the game. "I don't really pay attention to RBIs -- my job is supposed to be getting on base and scoring runs. But the guys kept getting on base in front of me."
The outburst vaulted Presley from 10th in the league in RBIs to second, with 35 in 41 games.
The lefty-hitting Presley opened his record-setting effort with a bases-loaded triple off southpaw Aeros starter Scott Barnes (1-5) with two outs in the first inning. He followed with a two-out three-run homer in the third, also off Barnes. Presley entered the game batting .322 against left-handed pitching, up from a .190 mark with Class A Advanced Lynchburg last season.
Presley victimized reliever Chen-Chang Lee in the fifth, delivering a one-out shot to right with Curve right fielder Miles Durham on first. After striking out in the sixth, he doubled off Zach Putnam in the eighth to finish the night just a single shy of the cycle.
Presley's heroics overshadowed a strong night from the Altoona pitching staff. Starter Tim Alderson improved to 3-2, allowing four hits over a season-high seven shutout innings. He fanned five and did not walk a batter.
Right-hander Diego Moreno made his Double-A debut in relief of Alderson, yielding one hit and striking out a pair in a scoreless eighth. He had gone 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 16 appearances for Class A Advanced Bradenton.
Corey Hamman pitched the ninth, allowing a pair of hits and a run. The Aeros did not advance a runner past second base until the final frame.
Gorkys Hernandez and Matt Hague collected three hits apiece for the first-place Curve, who have won six in a row overall and seven straight on the road. Altoona'a 16-6 road record is tops in the Eastern League.
"This is the best clubhouse I've been in, by far," Presley said. "We have a lot of selfless guys on this team and everybody's trying to help each other out."