Stockton's Oberacker hits for cycle

A's prospect drives in four, raises average from .275 to .289

By David Heck / Special to | May 29, 2012 10:02 PM ET

When Chad Oberacker got the bat on the ball in the eighth inning Tuesday, he thought it was a home run. But even though the ball stayed in the park, it's safe to say he was perfectly happy with the double.

The two-base hit gave Oberacker the cycle and capped a four-hit, four-RBI day for the A's prospect as the Class A Advanced Stockton Ports routed the High Desert Mavericks, 9-1.

The cycle is the fifth in the Minors this season, with all of them coming in the past eight days. The last time a Port hit for the cycle was on Aug. 30, 2011, when Conner Crumbliss accomplished the feat against Modesto.

"It feels pretty good to be honest," said Oberacker, who recorded the first four-RBI game of his career on May 22. "It's my first one that I can remember. It's definitely different. I'm pretty happy right now."

Oberacker started the game off by grounding out to third base, but came back to record a single to lead off the third inning. The 23-year-old outfielder went deep in his next plate appearance, sending a pitch from Roenis Elias over the right-field wall for a three-run homer.

"I was just trying to put good wood on it," Oberacker said. "It was a 3-1 count, so I was looking for something over the plate. He left one up, I got the head out and turned on it."

In the sixth, Oberacker got the hardest part of the feat out of the way by smacking a triple to center field. He drove in Josh Whitaker and came around to score himself on a throwing error by outfielder James Jones.

"When I saw the ball go to the wall, I just turned on the jets. ... The throw got away, and I kind of popped up from my slide and headed home."

With one out in the eighth, Oberacker stepped to the plate knowing he had a chance to cycle. He wasted no time making it happen, driving the first pitch he saw to the right-field wall for a stand-up double.

"I realized [I was a double away], but I wasn't exactly thinking about it," Oberacker said. "I was just going back up there taking the same approach. It was a first-pitch fastball right down the middle, and I put a pretty good swing on it again."

Oberacker briefly considered going for third, but knew the play would have been close and decided to stay at second. Before that, though, he thought he might have gotten the first two-homer game of his career.

"It was probably the best-hit ball I had all day," Oberacker said. "It was actually about a foot from going out. At first, I thought it went out, then I saw the right fielder [Mike McGee] going after it. I was definitely thinking double all the way after that."

Oberacker, who was drafted by the A's in the 25th round in June, is now batting .289 with five homers in 39 games between Class A Burlington and Stockton. Playing in his first full professional season, the Tennessee Tech product seems to be enjoying the ride.

"It's what I've always wanted to do," he said. "I'm kind of living the dream, I guess. It's going well. What I had going in Spring Training has carried over to the season so far. I had a slow start [in Stockton], but things are picking up now. Staying consistent, don't take days off, those are my goals."

Ports starter Sean Murphy (1-1) also put together a strong effort, allowing one run and striking out eight over eight innings. In 65 frames between Burlington and Stockton, he has compiled a 1.52 ERA with 68 punchouts.

"Murphy's been lights-out and as consistent a starter as you could ask for all year," Oberacker said. "He just spots up, throws all his pitches for strikes and lets the defense work behind him when he's not striking guys out. He's been great all year, I'm glad he's doing really well."

A.J. Kirby-Jones finished the day 2-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Whitaker collected three base knocks and crossed the plate twice.

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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