Once Cory Spangenberg stopped trying to slug home runs, he turned into a better hitter. And one with power at that.
The Padres' No. 10 prospect collected four hits and scored four runs as Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore swept both ends of a doubleheader against Lancaster on Wednesday.
In the opener, Spangenberg was 2-for-3 with a homer, a double and three RBIs en route to the Storm's 7-2 victory. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 performance with two runs in the nightcap, a 4-2 win.
"I'm starting to feel comfortable, not trying to do too much, taking what the pitcher gives me and not doing too much with it," Spangenberg said. "[The homer] was the second pitch of the game, lefties have been throwing me inside all year. I was sitting on it and put a good swing on it and it left the yard.
The longball was the third on the season for the 22-year-old second baseman, tying his previous career high from 2011. He spent all of 2012 in the California League, going yard once for the Storm in 98 games. Spangenberg said the key to his power surge has been a change in his approach.
"Honestly in years past, I used to try to hit homers and now I'm swinging nice and neat and that's helping me," he said. "I'm not swinging hard, I'm not falling off balance after I'm swinging, I'm trying to be smooth with it."
Spangenberg is riding a nine-game hitting streak in which has has 16 hits, nine of which have gone for extra bases. The streak has raised his average to .319 for Lake Elsinore and he is second in the league with 13 stolen bases.
The hot stretch has got the Pennsylvania native thinking about moving up a level, though he knows the only thing he can do is keep hitting and hope to force a decision.
"You know, I'm ready to move up but that's up to the Padres, so whenever they feel like I'm ready I'll be ready," Spangenberg said. "I just have to keep on playing good baseball and whenever they feel like it's time, it will be time."
Justin Miller slugged a two-run homer in the opener and was 1-for-3 with an RBI and three stolen bases in the second game.
Preston Tucker homered in the first game for the JetHawks.