Nwogu's night: Three homers by the fifth inning
Jordan Nwogu had never hit two home runs in one game in his life (dingers in both ends of a high school doubleheader don’t count, he says), so when asked where hitting three homers in one game ranked among the feats he’s accomplished on the field in his life, the
Jordan Nwogu had never hit two home runs in one game in his life (dingers in both ends of a high school doubleheader don’t count, he says), so when asked where hitting three homers in one game ranked among the feats he’s accomplished on the field in his life, the 23-year-old was quick to answer.
“Number one,” Nwogu said without missing a beat.
The Cubs outfield prospect made both personal and team history on Thursday night, swatting three home runs to lift High-A South Bend to a 13-3 win over West Michigan. He added a single and a walk while driving in four runs, also a career high.
Nwogu became the first SB Cub since at least 2005 to notch the homer trifecta.
“I was excited to do that for my team, but also figure something out for myself,” he said.
Sitting on two home runs through 15 games in August, Nwogu quickly matched that in his first two turns at bat in the first and third innings. He bounced a single up the middle in the fourth inning and came to the plate in the fifth with the elusive third home run as the last thing on his mind.
“It was definitely trying not to think about what I had done [to that point],” Nwogu said of his approach against Whitecaps right-hander Hendry Nunez. “Try to have a short-term memory, just go up there and relax and see the ball. Not living in the past, really.”
As it turned out, Nwogu’s past was also his future. After pulling his first two home runs to left field, he swung at a 2-1 pitch from Nunez on the outer half of the plate and sent it over the wall in right-center.
Just one batter earlier, Nwogu watched from the on-deck circle as South Bend center fielder and Cubs top prospect (MLB No. 31)
“Hitting is contagious,” Nwogu said. “He’s always up there swinging and barreling the ball, so that gives me a little more confidence. We’re really close, we’ve been roommates all year. He’s definitely the best player I’ve ever played with and it’s been fun learning from him.”
As the month of August nears its conclusion, Nwogu hopes the three-homer milestone is a sign of things to come throughout the final few weeks of the Minor League season.
“I’ve been playing … good to some people’s standards, but I know I’ve got a lot more that I need to show,” Nwogu said. “As long as I’m getting better, I feel that I’m in a good spot, and I definitely got better throughout the year.”
The Cubs’ third-round pick out of Michigan in 2020 is now hitting .255 with 13 home runs through 74 games in his second season as a professional.
Jacob Resnick is a contributor for MiLB.com.