PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After his Florida Gators won the national championship in the College World Series Tuesday night, the most famous alum from Gainesville had his own big night at the plate.Making his debut with the Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets after being promoted on Sunday, former
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After his Florida Gators won the national championship in the College World Series Tuesday night, the most famous alum from Gainesville had his own big night at the plate.
Making his debut with the Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets after being promoted on Sunday, former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow homered in his first appearance in the second game of a doubleheader at First Data Field.
Tebow, who hit three homers with the Class A Columbia Fireflies, stroked a towering fly to center on a 3-1 pitch from Palm Beach Cardinals right-hander Junior Fernandez in the bottom of the second inning.
The ball drifted just left of the batter's eye. Palm Beach center fielder Blake Drake leaped to make the grab but came up short, as Michael Paez and Tebow scored for a 2-1 St. Lucie lead.
"I felt good. Honestly, I felt good the last couple of weeks in Columbia and tried to carry it over. Just put the bat on the ball and hit it hard. I was just thankful I could get one out tonight," Tebow said.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner homered in the instructional league on the back fields of the complex last September.
He also hit a two-run homer in his first game with the Fireflies in April.
Tebow struck out looking on three pitches in his first at-bat against right-hander Conner Jones in the opening game while serving as St. Lucie's designated hitter.
However, he regrouped his next time up and chopped a single over Jones and into center for his first Florida State League hit.
Tebow, 29, also walked in the first of the seven-inning games, which St. Lucie lost, 5-2.
After homering in the nightcap, he hit a hard grounder off left-hander Jacob Evans in the bottom of the sixth with no outs and Paez on while representing the tying run. However, third baseman Leobaldo Pina made the stop and threw out Tebow, slowing the attempted rally.
The Mets dropped the second game of the twin bill, 5-3.
"I was disappointed to walk away with the loss [in the second game]," said Tebow. "As a team we played pretty well, but we can grow from it and learn."
Tebow, who played left field in the second game, finished the doubleheader by going 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk.
"I really like competing, like the last at-bat [against Evans]," said Tebow of his eight-pitch battle against the southpaw. "Just having fun and competing ... I just love it. It's just competition. It's what I've done for a long time, and it's what I really enjoy."
Bill Whitehead is a contributor to MLB.com.