For Kris Bryant, Friday's game was just another day at the office.
The Cubs' No. 4 prospect was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a go-ahead triple as Mesa defeated Peoria, 7-5. The Solar Sox now boast a league-best 10-4 record.
Bryant, who doubled and scored twice prior to his at-bat in the ninth, found himself at the plate with Taylor Lindsey (Angels) on second and one out in the frame. With the count at 1-1, the Nevada native hit a slider into right field to break the 5-5 tie and came around to score on Tyler Collins' (Tigers) fielder's choice one batter later.
"I knew the guy [Dominic Leone]. I had played with him in summer ball," Bryant said of the Seattle pitching prospect he faced in his last at-bat. "So I knew he had good velocity. He threw a pitch where he didn't want it to be, he threw a hanging slider and that's what I'm supposed to do with that pitch."
Bryant has been scorching hot this fall, batting .429 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games for the Solar Sox. The 21-year-old third baseman has hits in nine of those 10 contests, with 11 of his 18 hits going for extra bases.
"I think just staying in the moment," he said of the secret to his AFL success. "Not focusing on how well I did in the past or how bad I did. I'm working to get better each and every day and not letting outside distractions affect me. I think I've done a good job with that so far.
"I want to keep getting better every day. I've swung at some balls in the dirt and just not being myself sometimes. I want to swing at strikes and not get myself out."
Selected second overall out of the University of San Diego this year, Bryant made a strong debut in the Minors, batting .336 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 36 Minor League games. He ended the season in the Florida State League, where he drove in four runs in six playoff games to lead Daytona to a title. Despite a lengthy season that has now extended into October, Bryant is still feeling strong.
"I feel awesome," Bryant said. "I've kept my body in really good shape. The bat feels light in my hands. Hopefully that'll continue the next two or three weeks we have out here."
Jorge Soler, the Cubs' No. 3 prospect, slugged a two-run homer, his first of the fall campaign. Soler is batting .302 with nine RBIs for Mesa after missing the final two months of the regular season with a stress fracture in the left tibia. Bryant is happy to see his teammate finding success in the desert.
"He's been playing extremely well and hitting the ball hard to all fields," Bryant said. "He's a great ballplayer and an even better person. It's nice to see someone like that have success."
Lindsey, the Angels' third-ranked prospect, was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, and Collins plated a pair of runs.
Kenny Faulk (Tigers) gave up a solo homer and struck out three in the eighth to improve to 1-0. Richie Mirowski (Nationals) retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his first save.
Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners) homered and drove in two runs in the loss for the Javelinas.