Batting fourth for Class A West Michigan, Ulrich Bojarski certainly cleaned up Sunday. And then some.
The Tigers outfield prospect delivered the team's first cycle since July 25, 2006 in the Whitecaps' 9-5 loss to the Bees. Bojarski drove in two runs and scored twice.
Each of the 20-year-old's knocks came on the first or second pitch of his at-bats. He lined the first offering from Bees right-hander Austin Krzeminski to right field for an RBI double in the first inning and smacked the second pitch he saw in the third into left for a single. The second pitch the right fielder saw in the sixth was crushed for a solo homer to left-center off southpaw Hector Yan. So Bojarski knew he needed a triple for the cycle going into his at-bat in the eighth.
Gameday box score
As the 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed hitter stepped into the box against lefty Connor Higgins, the milestone was definitely on Bojarski's mind.
"I was thinking if I hit the ball down the line I'm definitely going for three no matter what," Bojarski said, "even if I'm out by 50 feet."
Higgins' first pitch was ripped to right and Bojarski raced around the bases, diving head first safely into third for West Michigan's first cycle since Michael Hernandez repeated the accomplishment for the team on July 25, 2006.
2019 Minor League milestones
"I couldn't believe it for a second," Bojarski said. "It hit me, and that feeling was like nothing I've ever felt before. I just remember looking around and thinking, 'How is this really happening?'"
It marked his second four-hit game of the season, raising his average to .307/.340/.523 with four home runs and 10 extra-base hits in 23 games. Bojarski first took the field for the Whitecaps on June 6, 2018, but played only 10 games for West Michigan before splitting the remaining 50 between Class A Short Season Connecticut and the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Tigers East. Overall, he batted .202/.281/.365 with six home runs last year.
This time around, Bojarski said he's loving everything about his experience in West Michigan so far. He credits Whitecaps hitting coach John Vander Wal, manager Lance Parrish and Minor League hitting coordinator Scott Fletcher for his successful start to the year.
2019 MiLB include
"They've been working really hard with me, and obviously, it's been paying off and it's showing with all the hard work," Bojarski said.
It's just the latest stop on a worldwide adventure. The South Africa native moved to Australia when he was 2 years old and began playing baseball at 13. After one season with the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League, he was discovered and ultimately signed by Tigers scout Kevin Hooker, who's originally from Perth.
West Michigan's Wenceel Perez, Detroit's 12th-ranked prospect, went 3-for-6 with a solo tater and two runs scored.
Kevin Maitan, the Angels' No. 14 prospect, singled twice, walked and crossed the plate once for the Bees.