Second-round pick hits three homers

Second-round pick hits three homers

After managing two homers in his first 23 games as a professional, Tommy Mendonca is starting to display the power that made him the most prolific home run hitter in Fresno State history.

The Rangers' second-round pick in this year's Draft belted three solo shots Wednesday as the Spokane Indians rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

"I thought I was just going to get into pro ball and it was going to be easy," Mendonca admitted.

"I had to adjust to the wood bat, and the first 20-something games I was doing pretty bad. Our hitting instructor (Josue Perez) fixed some stuff and we've been working the past few weeks. I'm really happy with what I've done with my swing."

Mendonca went deep a school-record 56 times during his college career and earned Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors after belting 27 homers for the Bulldogs this past season.

Following a solo blast against Yakima on July 3 in his fourth game as a pro, the 21-year-old third baseman experienced a 14-game homer drought before connecting again on July 22 against Everett.

To his credit, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound California native has roared back with a vengeance over the past seven games, hitting .469 (15-for-32) with five homers, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored.

"Everything has been fixed right now," said Mendonca. "My hands are getting down in the slot where they need to be. Now I'm just exploding the ball instead of hooking everything."

Mendonca shook off a second-inning strikeout before beginning his big performance Wednesday. He followed Miguel Velazquez's two-run blast with a drive over the left-field wall in the third, launched a shot over the fence in left-center in the fifth and connected to dead center in the eighth.

"It just comes down to how many good swings you can put together in a row," said Mendonca. "It's a big-time difference. I'm happy everything is going smooth now and starting to turn. Individually and as a team, we're rolling."

The recent power surge has Mendonca one off the Northwest League lead with seven homers to go with a .305 average and 19 RBIs in 30 games.

It was the second three-homer game of the season in the Northwest League. Salem-Keizer's Drew Biery accomplished the feat on July 25 against Yakima.

John Torenli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.