Tim Roberson played the game of his career on Friday night, hitting for the cycle en route to a 13-11 comeback victory for the Portland Sea Dogs over the New Britain Rock Cats in front of 5,161 fans at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.
“Just one of those nights, I saw the ball well,” Roberson told Kelsie Heneghan of MiLB.com. “Almost speechless and never expected that, but I’m blessed and happy that we got the win, most importantly. To do it at the professional level, and at the place I’m in here and in this moment, I’ll definitely remember this one for the rest of my life.”
After Carlos Asuaje reached base on throwing error in the bottom of the third, Roberson got his first hit of the game when he launched a ball to left field for a two-out double.
Portland entered the seventh inning trailing the Rock Cats by a score of 10-4 and after Oscar Tejeda delivered an RBI single, Roberson drilled the second pitch he saw from Tyler Ybarra for a grand slam home run, the first Double-A home run of his career.
“I was looking for a good pitch to hit. I kind of chased the first pitch, a curveball down, and I was just looking for something up and to put a good swing on it. And I got that and squared it up,” Roberson told Heneghan.
“It felt good because we’re down five at that point and it got us back to within one and we’re battling all night. And it felt really good to help the team out and get us within one.”
Trailing by two runs, Tejeda would reach on a lead-off walk to begin the ninth before advancing to second on a single by Roberson. Both runners were able to move up on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Luis Martinez and then scored on a two-run single by shortstop Marco Hernandez to tie the game at 11 runs a piece.
Needing just a triple to become the third player in Sea Dogs’ history to hit for the cycle, Roberson stepped to the plate in the 10th with two on and one out.
The 25-year old West Palm Beach, Florida native launched a ball to center field and as he rounded first base he could hear first base coach Joe Thurston encouraging him to “go for it.” Roberson realized Thurston was referring to a triple and sped up as he rounded second before cruising into third with a two-run go-ahead triple to give Portland the 13-11 lead.
Even though it took one extra frame to accomplish the rare feat, it was a game Roberson will soon forget.
“I got a pitch up and put a good swing on it and things happened from there,” he said. “Just blessed that I get to do this every day and be a part of this. And what happened tonight, I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. Some things have to happen [to get a triple] — I’m not the fastest guy in the world but luckily, tonight was in my favor.”