June 28, 2010 - Carolina League (CarL) - Lynchburg Hillcats
On May 24 with Double-A Altoona, Alex Presley was a single away. Just over one month later, and in his third game with Triple-A Indianapolis, Presley completed the cycle.
And it only took him five innings to do it.
Presley played all of last season in the outfield with the 2009 Carolina League Champion Hillcats, and also in 2008. He played 197 total games in Lynchburg the past two seasons, when the team was affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit .257 with four home runs and 37 RBI in 2009. He hit .258 with six home runs and 35 RBI the previous season.
The Indians hammered the Toledo Mud Hens 15-3, but Presley highlighted the evening. Toledo took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the first inning. Presley came up with the bases empty and tripled. He didn't score. But in the six-run second inning Presley hit an RBI single.
And in the six-run third, Presley hit the second of back-to-back-to-back home runs off starter Billy Buckner and reliever Ruddy Lugo. Presley and another former Hillcat, Steve Pearce's home runs were against Lugo. To finish out the cycle, Presley led off the fifth inning with a softly hit double to left field.
"They told me in the dugout that I needed a double, so it was in the back of my mind," Presley said. "But I was trying to keep my same approach at the plate. I think it was a curveball and when it came off the bat I thought I had a chance."
It's not the fastest cycle in baseball history. That honor is believed to belong to the Rockies' Mike Lansing, who hit for the cycle in the first four innings of Colorado's 19-2 win over Arizona. That was on June 19, 2000. It was the 11th cycle hit in the minor leagues, the first in the International League.
Presley was in his third game in Triple-A. He had a hit in each of his first two, and five in yesterday's game. He's now hitting .500 (7-for-14) with Indianapolis. That was after hitting .350 in 67 games with Double-A Altoona. He had six home runs and 47 RBI for the Curve, and was a single away from the cycle May 24 against Akron.
Altoona, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is currently 49-26 in the Eastern League's Western Division. The team stands in first place by 10 games over Bowie (Orioles). Fifteen of the 25 players on the Curve roster are former Hillcats, as well as trainer Brian Housand. He was the Hillcats' trainer for the past four years.
Meanwhile Indianapolis is 43-34, second place in the International League's West Division. The Indians are three back of Columbus (Indians) for first place in the division. Six current Indianapolis Indians previously donned the green and gold, including hitting coach Jeff Branson who managed with the Hillcats for two seasons in 2007 and 2008.