The question is would you rather hit for the cycle or hit a two-run home run in the first inning for three consecutive games?
Some baseball players don’t have to choose. Texas right fielder Kyle Russell accomplished both feats Tuesday night.
Russell’s first-inning two-run homer against UT-Pan American was the beginning of his hitting for the cycle in the Longhorns’ 11-1 victory, which was called in the seventh inning at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The game ended early because UT-Pan American wanted to try to avoid the severe weather sweeping across the state.
Russell, who leads the nation with 24 home runs, tripled in the fifth, doubled in the sixth and singled in Jordan Danks in the seventh to end the game.
“It’s the first cycle I’ve ever hit,” said Russell, who was 4 for 5 with a career-high five RBIs. “To do it at home in front of the burnt orange nation is really special.”
And the first-inning home runs are becoming routine. It’s the same runner on base, in the same inning, ending with the same result.
First Chance Wheeless, the Longhorns’ No. 2 hitter, gets on base, as he did Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Then Russell hits a home run.
Not only that, but Russell has hit each of the home runs to the same spot in left-center field.
“We were talking about it in the dugout. It’s been amazing. Kyle told me before we went up there that if I got on base, he would knock me in,” Wheeless said.
“I didn’t want to break my promise,” Russell responded.
He didn’t. In fact, Russell drove Wheeless in three times Tuesday, and both players scored in the first, fifth and sixth innings.
“I think he got tired of running today,” Russell joked.
Both the cycle and the home runs have impressed Texas coach Augie Garrido.
“It’s the many miracles of baseball,” Garrido said. “They pop up all the time, like Boston hitting four home runs in a row (against the Yankees on Sunday).”
Russell and Wheeless got Texas (34-12) going, and Austin Wood and reliever Josh Prince shut down UT-Pan American (15-34). Wood gave up a run on four hits in six innings.