Cal Baseball: Andrew Vaughn Cracks First MLB Home Run for White Sox

For Golden Bears star blasts 436-footer off Twins' Starter J.A. Happ.
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Former Cal star Andrew Vaughn's first major league home run created a once-in-a-lifetime sensation.

“I felt like I was on the moon floating around the bases,” Vaughn said.

The 23-year-old White Sox rookie launched a 436-foot, two-run shot to center field off Minnesota Twins starter J.A. Happ as part of a five-run fourth inning that gave Chicago a 9-3 lead on Wednesday night.

"That was a pretty special moment. It came at a good time, too. It gave us a little bit of a lead,"  Vaughn said of his homer. "I'll never forget it."

The White Sox wound up 13-8 winners, improving to 21-13, giving them sole possession of first place in the AL Central Division, along with the best record in the majors.

Andrew Vaughn's home run swing

Andrew Vaughn's home run swing

Vaughn, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 major league draft, homered in his 85th plate appearance of the season.

He has been hot lately, batting .300 (9-for-30) in his previous nine games with four doubles. But through his first 23 games, he had not gone deep.

"I'm never trying to go up there and hit a home run," Vaughn said. "Hit the ball hard, get it in the air a little bit and try to make some magic happen. And I guess that's what happened right there."

Vaughn crushed an 84-mph, 1-1 pitch, sending it 10 rows beyond the fence in left-center.

“We felt it coming. There it is,” White Sox TV play-by-play man Jason Benetti said.

Vaughn finished 1-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI and a walk. He is batting .257 with a .364 on-base percentage.

White Sox pitching coach Frank Menechino had a pre-game conversation with Vaughn, where he told him what matters most.

"I've told Andrew to hit .300," Menechino told Yahoo Sports. "'I don't care if you don't hit one home run. Hit .300, work on hitting .300.' And if he goes into that where he's going to look to hit .300?

"Everybody wants to see the home run. ... I don't want to get excited, but f--- the home run. Let's hit .300. Then we will worry about the other stuff later."

Vaughn hit just one home run during his days at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. But he hit 50 in three seasons at Cal, including 23 in 2018 when he won the Golden Spikes Award as college baseball’s best player.

Even so, Vaughn insists home runs are not his bread-and-butter.

"I've always tried to be myself and be a hitter first," Vaughn said. "That's very important, being a hitter and the power will come. You can't try to hit home runs. There are a select few guys who can do that. Just go out and put good at-bats together and help the team win in any way possible."

Menechino noted that Vaughn's ascension to a starter in the majors has come more quickly than anyone anticipated.

"The kid played A-ball. The kid played college two years ago. Just being up here, relaxing, working every day, getting comfortable," Menechino said. "It's just a matter of getting back to relaxing and figuring out the league.

"It takes 1,500 at-bats up here to figure out who you are as a big leaguer. He's doing great. His work ethic is there. He's positive. I couldn't ask for anything more."

Cover photo of Andrew Vaughn scoring a run by Kamil Krzaczynsk, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo