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Ex-Aggie Johnson gets 1st big-league homer

Cleveland Indians’ Daniel Johnson, a former New Mexico State Aggie, points to the crowd after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 18, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Daniel Johnson made some personal history on Sunday, hitting his first major league homer and helping the Cleveland Indians beat the Oakland 4-2.

It looks like Johnson also made some history for his old school.

The New Mexico State alumnus is thought to be the first former Aggie to have homered in a big league game. Baseball-reference.com lists him as one seven former New Mexico State players to have reached the big leagues, none of whom has been credited with a home run. Until Sunday.

Johnson entered the game batting .111 in seven games with the Indians, but his seventh-inning homer during a 2-for-4 day at the plate gave Cleveland the lead for good.

Earlier, Johnson made a sparkling sliding catch running toward the right field line to rob Oakland catcher Sean Murphy of a hit, which saved a run.

“It was crazy, it was incredible,” Johnson said. “We haven’t had a series win against the A’s in a long time. Contributing, hitting my first home run, was even better.”

Johnson is from Vallejo, California, about 30 minutes north of the Coliseum, and he had a group of family and friends in attendance.

Bradley Zimmer had three hits including a home run on All-Star Chris Bassitt’s first pitch for the Indians.

“It’s a nice way to start the game,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “(Zimmer) and Daniel Johnson, that was pretty much our offense. Both of them swung the bat well.”

Johnson was selected out of NMSU by the Washington Nationals in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.





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