On a rainy night in Clinton, Iowa, Jordan Renz of the Cedar Rapids Kernels did something that had not been done in nearly three decades.
Renz belted three homers and drove in 10 runs in Cedar Rapids' 18-14 loss to the Clinton LumberKings on May 15, earning MiLB.com's Class A Single-Game Performer of the Year Award.
Renz became the first Midwest League player to rack up 10 RBIs in a game since Quad Cities' Michael Bishop on June 24, 1978 -- five years before Renz was born.
"The only thing that I've done before that matches this performance is that I hit a home run to win the championship game in advanced rookie ball," Renz said of an eighth-inning blast that lifted Provo to the Pioneer League title in 2004.
"(Looking back), I'm more proud of the home run in the championship game because it won something. The 10-RBI game was great, but we still lost. To win a championship and celebrate it with my team is more important that any one game."
The 22-year-old outfielder began his big night by lining a two-run double in the first inning. He ripped a two-run homer in the third before a 99-minute rain delay threatened to suspend the contest.
"The game could have been canceled two separate times. We started on time, but the rain threatened it," he recalled. "Towards the end, there were maybe 50 people in the stands."
Those 50 people witnessed something special. After play resumed, Renz belted a two-run shot in the sixth and a grand slam in the eighth, but they weren't enough as the Kernels could not overcome a season-high five errors.
Renz, who raised his batting average 21 points to .303, wasn't even aware of his numbers at first.
"I didn't do the math," he said. "I didn't know what I had done until I went out to right in the eighth and the (opposing) fans were cheering. To have something like that happen is pretty special.
"Afterwards, my hitting coach (former Major Leaguer Eric Owens) wanted me to sign the lineup card. That was pretty special to hear."
Cedar Rapids (34-35) missed the playoffs, finishing eight games behind Quad Cities in the Western Division. Renz ended the season with a .222 average, 24 homers, 86 RBIs and 178 strikeouts, the second-highest total in the league.
"I'm working out with a trainer right now. My two-strike approach has to change," Renz said.