Szczur enjoys first big league trip around bases

Rookie has family and friends in attendance at PNC Park

Szczur enjoys first big league trip around bases

PITTSBURGH -- Matt Szczur timed his first big league home run perfectly.

The rookie outfielder led off the eighth inning Saturday night with his first blast in the Cubs' 6-4 victory over the Pirates, and had his family, his fiancee and her family, and lots of friends from Villanova in the crowd of 38,024 at PNC Park.

It was almost harder to get the ball than it was to hit it. Szczur's homer sailed into the left-field seats, and a young fan ended up with it. The Cubs coaches got word to third-base umpire Paul Schrieber about the importance of the home run, and he intervened, going over to the stands to ask the young man for the ball.

"There were a lot of people involved trying to get that baseball," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

"After the inning, [Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio] came up to me and said 'Hey, Szczur, we got the ball for you. We had a hard time getting it, but we got it,'" Szczur said. "I was like, 'Did you make sure you signed it?' He sure did -- he signed it for me."

Bosio autographs each ball with the date, the location and the pitcher -- which is how the Cubs authenticate the souvenirs.

Cubs rookies have provided plenty of pop this season with Javier Baez hitting his ninth homer Saturday. Mike Olt has 12, Arismendy Alcantara has nine and Jorge Soler has four.

"I don't know about [joining the] rookie home run derby -- that's my second of the year," Szczur said. "It's good to be here [in the big leagues]. It's really exciting. Hopefully this ignites some wins and we finish the season strong."

He hit his only other home run on April 13.

"I thought I was going to have about 20, and I ended up having one," Szczur said. "That's what I get for thinking."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.