It isn't often that someone actually tries to hit a home run when he steps to the plate. But it's a different story if a homer is all that separates that player from hitting for the cycle.
Casper Wells went deep in the ninth inning to complete the rare feat -- and a five-RBI night -- on Tuesday as the Erie SeaWolves defeated the Akron Aeros, 11-5, at Canal Park.
After striking out in his first at-bat, Wells capped a four-run second and snapped a 2-2 tie with an RBI single. He smacked a two-run triple in the fifth and plated another run with a double in the seventh that extended the SeaWolves' lead to 10-4.
With two outs in the top of the ninth and Erie ahead by five runs, the 23-year-old center fielder had one crack at the cycle.
"I knew I needed the home run," Wells said. "Everyone said that I better be swinging for it. I wanted to be aggressive and I got a 3-1 fastball down and in. I went down and put a good swing on it."
It was the first cycle in the Eastern League since Steve Mortimer accomplished the feat for Harrisburg last Aug. 10. Juan Francia was the last member of the SeaWolves to do it on Aug. 9, 2005, also at Akron.
"While I was rounding the bases, I thought, 'This is pretty cool,'" said Wells, who is hitting .292 in July. "I've had chances before but never got it done. My teammates were pretty excited for me."
Wells was named a Midwest League midseason All-Star after hitting .240 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 50 games for Class A West Michigan. He has homered three times in his last four games has been at his best against the Aeros.
"My best two nights in pro ball have been at Akron," said Wells, who went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and three doubles vs. the Aeros on July 17. "It's really all about confidence. Maybe I was trying to do too much when I first got to Double-A. I just want to keep the same approach and help the team win."
Wells was Detroit's 14th-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft and hit .267 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 67 games for short-season Oneonta last season. He led the New York-Penn League with 11 triples and 38 extra-base hits and again was a midseason All-Star.
Will Rhymes went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and fell a homer shy of the cycle, while Santo De Leon singled twice and scored twice for the SeaWolves (47-64). Erie has won four of its last five games.
Former 10th-round pick Lauren Gagnier (2-2) got the victory, allowing four runs on eight hits over six innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Akron's Kevin Dixon (8-7) yielded four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and two walks while striking out four over four frames to lose his second straight start.
Wyatt Toregas hit a two-run homer, Matthew Whitney and Nathan Panther added solo shots and Joshua Rodriguez collected three hits for the Aeros (66-44).
Steve Conley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.