Greenville's Northcut smacks three home runs
Nicholas Northcut is always confident in his swing. In a way, it wasn’t a surprise that the 22-year-old slugger crushed three home runs in a game for the first time in his pro career. But it didn’t stop his excitement about it. “It felt pretty good,” Northcut said. “It’s always
Nicholas Northcut is always confident in his swing.
In a way, it wasn’t a surprise that the 22-year-old slugger crushed three home runs in a game for the first time in his pro career. But it didn’t stop his excitement about it.
“It felt pretty good,” Northcut said. “It’s always something very special when you get to go out there, collect three [homers] and help the team win that night.”
Northcut tallied four hits and a career-high eight RBIs in High-A Greenville’s 15-4 win over Asheville. It was the second three-homer game in Drive history -- the first coming from Red Sox No. 26 prospect Christian Koss last August -- and the second multihomer performance for Northcut this season.
Northcut’s trifecta puts him one dinger behind the MiLB lead of 20 shared by Erie’s Kerry Carpenter and Springfield’s Moisés Gómez.
Donning a Black Spinners jersey as part of MiLB’s The Nine initiative, Northcut knew it was going to be a good night from his very first at-bat, where he crushed an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right field for his second grand slam of the season in the bottom of the first.
Falling behind in the count again in his second at-bat an inning later, Northcut showed no fear and slugged his second long ball of the day, a three-run jack to give him seven RBIs through two innings.
Northcut added a single in the fourth and scored on a Joe Davis homer before stepping up to the plate in the sixth with two out and nobody on. This time ahead in the count 2-1, he cranked a homer to left-center to complete the feat.
“It’s always in your mind, but I try to block it out,” Northcut said of batting with the chance for a third homer. “I lock in on the pitcher, lock in on what they’re trying to do to me and try to execute the best I can.”
At the start of the game, Northcut was sitting at 16 homers, one shy of his career high set last season with Single-A Salem. It was clear he was going to surpass that total in ‘22, but he did it emphatically with three swings in a single night.
“Last year, I had some ups and downs, but I still put up some numbers. This year, it’s more consistent,” Northcut said. “This game’s all about adjustments, and for a while, there was a two week stretch where things weren’t going my way, so I was forcing my hand to be able to make an adjustment and come back.”
Also of note in the victory was Boston’s No. 7 prospect, Bryan Mata, making his second start of the season after missing the last two years due to COVID and Tommy John surgery. The right-hander tossed three innings, allowing a run on one hit and two walks while striking out five. He threw two hitless innings with two walks and two strikeouts in his season debut with Salem on June 4.
“We’ve had some scuffles this season, but we’re one of the most dangerous teams in Minor League Baseball,” Northcut said. “Sometimes the record doesn’t show that, but we’re flipping the script here … we come to the ballpark every day expecting to win.”
Stephanie Sheehan is an contributor for MiLB.com.