Stetson Allie doesn't necessarily think he has something to prove, but that hasn't stopped him from putting on a laser show at the plate.
Allie hit his 17th homer and drove in six runs as the Class A West Virginia Power split a doubleheader with the host Delmarva Shorebirds on Tuesday.
He went 3-for-3 with a long ball, two doubles, two walks, five RBIs and a pair of runs scored in the Power's 11-0 rout of the Shorebirds in Game 1. He added an RBI single in two at-bats before coming out for a defensive replacement after five innings in the second game, a 5-4 loss.
"There are no real failures in baseball, I consider everything a learning experience," said Allie, who has transitioned from the mound to first base with considerable -- and almost immediate -- success. "Starting out as a pitcher has made me a better hitter."
Selected by the Pirates in the second round of the 2010 Draft, Allie now leads the South Atlantic League with 61 RBIs.
His 17 homers rank second behind Hickory's Joey Gallo (18), while his .332 average stands fifth. He also features in a host of other statistical categories, including slugging percentage (.629, second) and extra-base hits (34, third).
In Tuesday's opener, Allie laced an RBI double to right field in the first inning, then walked and plated two more runs with his 16th two-bagger as the Power sent 13 batters to the plate in an eight-run third.
He walked again in the fifth before slugging a two-run homer to center off Bennett Parry in the seventh.
"[Parry] started me off with a fastball that I fouled back, then a breaking ball which I laid off," said Allie. "He threw me a changeup in the dirt, so I was sitting dead red. I got a 2-1 fastball and drove it over the wall.
"I knew I got that one. It was one of those that I didn't feel off the bat, so I knew I got it good. They tried to get ahead with fastballs in all my at-bats and then they would go off-speed. When I lay off those, that gives me an opportunity to hit a fastball. "
The 22-year-old Ohio native reached base for the sixth consecutive time with an RBI single in his first trip to the plate in the nightcap He popped out in the fourth and exited the game with a cramp after the fifth. He said the fatigue was related to the heat, but he did not expect to miss his next start.
Allie, who has been named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week twice this year, was also selected for the circuit's All-Star team last week.
That feat would likely have been impossible had Allie remained a pitcher, the position at which the Pirates drafted him. Even after his first year as a first baseman, this All-Star selection might have seemed to be an improbability.
On the mound in his rookie year, he was 0-2 with a 6.58 in 15 games -- including seven starts -- with the short-season State College Spikes in 2011. He walked 29 batters and struck out 28 over 26 innings.
He made two more appearances on the mound to start 2012 in West Virginia, but after walking eight batters, uncorking three wild pitches and hitting another batter, Allie -- with a 54.00 ERA -- was moved to the infield.
In 42 games with the Pirates' Gulf Coast League affiliate last year, Allie batted .213 with three homers and 19 RBIs.
Allie has had hot and cold spells as a hitter at times this year, especially where the homers are concerned, but he does not consider himself a streaky player.
He hit six homers in 10 games April 7-16, but then just two -- both in the same game -- in his next 25 appearances. He then recorded five multi-hit games in six games May 19-24, then just four more in his past 16 contests.
"It's just the game of baseball, it does some crazy things," he said. "You will have weeks when you're really hot and days when you're really cold. If you always get hits in three out of 10 at-bats, you're in the Hall of Fame. There's a lot of failure there."
In the first game Tuesday, Joely Rodriguez (5-4) scattered six hits and two walks while striking out four batters over five innings for the victory. Right fielder Josh Bell was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks and two runs scored, and first baseman Walker Gourley went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
In the nightcap, the Shorebirds rallied against Kyle Haynes in the ninth to avoid a twinbill sweep with a 5-4 win. Steel Russell singled in the tying run and Connor Narron won the game with an RBI infield single.