On a night when his team was piling up hits, Tim Locastro was being treated like it was a game with none.
"Before, there was nothing being said. It was sort of like a no-hitter or a perfect game," he said. "I don't know if they knew that I was a triple away, but I definitely knew."
In his final trip to the plate, the Dodgers infield prospect laced a triple to right field to complete the first cycle of his career, capping a 4-for-5 night, as Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga pounded Lancaster, 12-1.
Locastro's shot at history almost didn't happen. The Quakes shortstop singled in the seventh inning, but with his team well in front, chances looked slim that he'd bat again. Rancho Cucamonga made sure Locastro got a chance for the most difficult leg of the cycle in the eighth.
"If I got it in the gap, I was going for three no matter what," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get that at-bat to have a chance to do that, but the guys were able to bat around [in the seventh] and help me get up again."
When Locastro got his chance as the second man up in the eighth, another challenge stood in his way.
"They actually had a submarine pitcher [Jacob Dorris] come into the game the inning before," he said. "In the past, I usually break a bat or ground out to third against submarine guys. I was just fortunate he left one over the plate. I was able to shoot it into that right-center gap."
Locastro rifled Dorris' offering the other way and raced to third for Rancho Cucamonga second cycle in as many seasons. Dodgers No. 6 prospect Alex Verdugo accomplished the feat last Aug. 26.
"Afterwards, everybody was saying congratulations," Locastro said of his teammates, who broke their superstitious silence after he scored his fourth run of the night on rehabbing big leaguer Alex Guerrero's single to right. "Everybody was pumped up for me. Our team is a really close-knit team. We're playing well right now."
The 23-year-old got his day started on a productive note when he powered an RBI double to center field in the first. He followed it with a solo shot to left in the third, his second homer of the year after going without one in his first 17 games.
"My first at-bat of the game, I had a fastball in that I doubled off of on the first pitch," said Locastro, whose four hits matched a career high. "My second at-bat, where I hit the home run, it was a fastball in. The first pitch was a borderline call and then the next pitch was a fastball in. I put the barrel down and hit it over the fence."
Locastro has hit safely in 13 straight games and ranks third in the California League with a .357 batting average. The Auburn, New York, native has boosted his slash line from .290/.329/.355 on April 26 to .357/.403/.536.
"At the plate, I'm not really thinking that much. I'm just trying to put the barrel on the ball," he said. "You can only control what you can control -- hit the ball hard -- and that's what you've got to do. Besides that, you can't really control any other things."
Rancho Cucamonga also got a strong night on the mound from Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra in his third start. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out three.
"He was mixing his pitches extremely well," Locastro said of the 24-year-old. "I think they only had one hit through his first five innings. When he's mixing his pitches, he's almost unhittable, like he was tonight."
The win was Rancho Cucamonga's 22nd, one back of Double-A Frisco for the Minor League lead.
"We're an extremely loose bunch," Locastro said. "It's one of those things where if a guy's not feeling it that night, everybody in that lineup is able to step up and hit the ball hard. It's next man up. That's our motto. It's a little cliché, but that's how we are right now."
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.