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Aug. 14, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Former Penn State catcher Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) was recognized for his three home run performance on Friday with a front page story on MiLB.com, the official website of Minor League Baseball. Heath went deep in each of his first three at-bats for the Lexington Legends and fell just short of his fourth long ball, which would have tied a South Atlantic League record.
As of Saturday morning, Heath's story stood No. 3 on the front page of MiLB.com, only behind former American League MVP Dustin Pedroia's impending rehab assignment and Yankees prospect J.R. Murphy driving in nine for the Charleston RiverDogs.
In just the fifth game since his call-up, Heath set a career-high (college or professional) with three home runs against the West Virginia Power, single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It marked his first-career multi-homer game in the pros. He hit two in a game on five occasions while at Penn State, including four times in 2010 to tie for tops in the nation.
Heath's homers came in the first, third and fifth innings to give the Legends an 8-2 lead. His fly ball in the seventh was caught at the right field fence while he walked in the ninth to finish 3-for-4 with seven RBI.
His long balls came off former State College Spikes Jason Erickson and Marc Baca. The first two were against Erickson, who only allowed seven home runs in 103.2 innings heading into Friday.
Heath now has nine home runs and 31 RBI over 42 minor league games across two levels. In five games at Lexington, he is hitting .444 with a 1.056 slugging percentage and 1.556 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Including his time at Penn State, he has 28 home runs and 88 RBI in 93 games so far in 2010.
Heath's power surge wasn't enough though, as West Virginia scored eight unanswered runs though to pull out a 10-8 victory.
A second team All-American, Heath enjoyed one of the best seasons in Penn State baseball history, hitting .369 with a school-record 19 home runs and 57 RBI. He was selected by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and has impressed from day one.
Check back to GoPSUsports.com throughout the summer for continued updates on current and former Nittany Lions.
For the complete story, please click here or see below.
Legends waste Heath's three homers
Astros prospect has monster night in fifth Class A game
08/14/2010 12:27 AM ET
Ben Heath made a name for himself in college as a power-hitting catcher and he showed why on Friday night.
The 2010 fifth-round pick blasted three homers and drove in seven runs in his fifth South Atlantic League game, but the Lexington Legends dropped a 10-8 decision to the West Virginia Power.
Heath launched a three-run shot off starter Jason Erickson with two outs in the first inning, then drilled a two-run blast in the fourth to extend the Legends' lead to 5-2.
The Penn State product went yard again in the fifth off reliever Marc Baca, becoming the first Legend to record a three-homer game since Jonathan Fixler on July 20, 2008 against Columbus.
Heath had two chances for a fourth homer, but his fly ball in the seventh was caught at the right-field fence and he walked on four pitches in the ninth. Pat Garman (Gastonia, May 20, 1988) and Anthony Mongeluzzo (Savannah, April 20, 2002) share the league record with four homers in a game.
The Astros selected Heath 153rd overall in the 2010 Draft after he broke Penn State's 32-year-old school record with 19 homers as a junior. One of two players in the country who were semifinalists for both the Johnny Bench Award and Dick Howser Trophy, he also led the Nittany Lions in batting (.369), doubles (16), RBIs (57), total bases (148), slugging percentage (.747), on-base percentage (.451) and runs scored (53).
The North Carolina native started his pro career in with short-season Tri-City and batted .248 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 37 games. He went 0-for-3 in his Class A debut but has driven in a run in each of his last four contests while raising his average to .444.
Heath helped Lexington build an 8-2 lead, but Elevys Gonzalez delivered a two-run single in the sixth and Rogelios Noris slugged a three-run homer in the seventh to spark West Virginia's comeback.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.