Tyler Goeddel finally made an out in the seventh inning Thursday, but he wasn't frustrated about it.
"Probably the best ball I hit all day was my out, which was funny," he said. "Right after my second at-bat, I knew it was going to be a good night."
Goeddel was in control all night, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored to help Class A Advanced Charlotte breeze by Bradenton, 13-6, at Charlotte Sports Park.
The Rays' first-round pick in the 2011 Draft got the Stone Crabs out to an early lead in the first inning when he lined an RBI single, stole second and scored on Maxx Tissenbaum's sacrifice fly during a five-run inning. He doubled to start the third and came home on Josh Sale's two-bagger to left, singled to lead off the fourth and added a two-RBI single in the fifth.
"It was big, we've been having a lot of good first innings lately, so that always helps," Goeddel said. "Tonight was even better, we continued to score past the first and kept adding on, so it was a good feeling for us."
The California native has been hitting well lately. He began a five-game hitting streak April 18 with three hits (including a homer), followed that with four RBIs and his second long ball April 19, collected two more hits April 22 and doubled home a run April 23.
"I've been feeling really good lately, I was able to find some holes today, which was nice," he said. "The whole team swung pretty well, putting up double-digit runs is a rare thing. It was good for our bats to get going."
Goeddel entered the 2013 season ranked by MLB.com as Tampa Bay's No. 16 prospect, but has fallen out of the top 20 this spring after batting .249 with seven homers, 65 RBIs, 30 steals and a .313 on-base percentage in 112 games for Class A Bowling Green last year. A UCLA commit, Goeddel signed with the Rays in 2011 and hit .246 in his debut season at Bowling Green.
After four hits Thursday, the third baseman is hitting .339, and he's not taking anything for granted.
"It's really nice," he said. "The last two years weren't the two years I planned on having. It's definitely nice to be at a higher level and to start off hot. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue this through the year."
The game marked the fifth time Goeddel has managed a four-hit night, but it fell short of his career high -- he homered twice and drove home six runs as part of his first four-hit game on April 15, 2012. Goeddel had a pair of four-hit games last season. He went 4-for-5 with three RBIs on June 11 against Dayton and finished 4-for-4 with three more RBIs against West Michigan on Aug. 21.
"I was just finding holes tonight, sometimes every ball falls in," he said. "I felt really good, we were good early, so it's nice to begin the year and get a game like this."
Goeddel is batting .375 with 13 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in his last 10 games.
"It's been fun, the last five games I've been hitting pretty well. It's always nice going out there when you're really confident, knowing good things will happen."
Still just 21, Goeddel said he's gone through a journey of understanding the daily grind of baseball, most notably when things don't go your way.
"The mental part is the toughest part of baseball," he said. "Not knowing how to deal with failure on a day-to-day basis and you just keep digging a bigger hole for yourself. The last month was a turning point for me. I made a couple adjustments in my stance, but it's really about having confidence in yourself and taking the same approach."
Goeddel, who saw action in six Australian Baseball League games with Brisbane this past winter, going 4-for-21 with four RBIs, said he's adjusting to the tougher pitchers of the Florida State League this month.
"I would say this year, the pitches are a lot more around the plate, they're not missing by much with their pitches," he said. "A lot of sinkers and sliders, which is a little different in fastball counts."
Charlotte totaled 15 hits in the win in support of starter Austin Pruitt. The right-hander held Bradenton to five runs on five hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. Andrew Toles went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Jake DePew and Sale added two hits apiece for the Stone Crabs.