Christian Walker entered the year with something to prove. At least through the season's first three weeks, he's making good on that resolve.
The Orioles' No. 15 prospect slugged the first grand slam of his career to lead Double-A Bowie past Erie, 11-1, on Tuesday.
After singling in the first inning and grounding out in the third, Walker hit a 3-2 pitch off Erie's Warwick Saupold over the left-field wall of Prince George's Stadium to extend the Baysox lead to 9-0. The 23-year-old first baseman finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk.
"I'm feeling good," Walker said. "Bases loaded, I was looking for something I could drive. Work gap to gap, get something elevated, and maybe get a sac fly at least. He threw a couple of pitches that were good pitches, his pitches. He threw a slider that didn't break too much and I just got the barrel through it. I knew I hit it well, it was just a matter of height. It was almost on a line."
A fourth-round pick in 2012, Walker extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Baysox. During the streak, he is batting .396 with three homers and 10 RBIs with a slash line of .329/.342/.500.
"I'm just been getting my body in a better position to hit," he said of his streak. "It's just one of those times where you're seeing the ball well. I felt like it was only a matter of time and they are all clumping together right now. Once you get a few to fall in for you, it's easier to hit."
The Pennsylvania native ended the 2013 campaign in Bowie, where he struggled to hit, posting a .642 OPS in 17 games. As such, Walker's goal this year was to start off strong in the Eastern League.
"I was looking forward to the start of this year," he said. "I felt like I had something to prove. I moved around a lot, as far as getting promoted. When I got here, I didn't perform like I was capable. Definitely felt like I had something to prove. Hopefully it's something I can keep going."
Tim Berry (1-0), Baltimore's eighth-ranked prospect, earned his first Double-A win after allowing a run on three hits and fanning four over six innings for the Baysox. Walker had nothing but praise for his hurler.
"It's really easy to play behind a guy like that," Walker said. "He works fast, he has a great tempo and he throws a lot of strikes. Even when he's not at his best, it's easy to stay in every play and it's a lot of fun to play behind a guy like that."
Buck Britton opened the game with a solo homer and Kyeong Kang slugged a two-run shot. Ronald Bermudez added three runs for the Baysox.
Saupold (1-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up nine runs on 11 hits over three innings.