Gavin Cecchini has had some challenges placed in front of him this year: A rough ballpark for hitters, the expectations that come with being a first-round Draft pick. He's met them head-on and is using them to become a better ballplayer now and in the future.
The Mets' No. 9 prospect recorded his second straight three-hit game, drove in two runs and scored twice on Saturday night to lead Class A Savannah to a 12-2 romp over visiting Rome.
Cecchini led off the bottom of the first inning with a double to extend his hitting streak to six games. He added a pair of singles, the first of which plated a pair of runs, and also reached on a throwing error by Braves shortstop Johan Camargo.
"Just staying with the process and staying with what I always do," Cecchini said. "It's not like I went out there and tried to do something different. I hit liners at people; I hit liners that got through."
The 20-year-old shortstop has certainly seen his share of liners get through of late. During his streak, Cecchini is batting .520 (13-for-25) with four extra base-hits. He has three three-hit games during the run, which has boosted his average to .276.
"Like I said, staying with what I'm doing and staying with the process," he said. "Balls fell and everything is going fine. I'm playing hard and I have a good mind-set, and I'm playing the game I love to play."
Cecchini is well on his way to putting last season behind him. He's hit more home runs -- two -- in 26 South Atlantic League games than he did in 51 games with Short-Season Brooklyn (zero). The 12th overall pick in the 2012 Draft also has drawn 12 walks, two fewer than he did all of last year.
"There's no doubt, walking is a byproduct of not getting your pitch," he explained. "This year, I'm doing a better job of being selective and hitting pitches I can drive and not just swinging at everything. That's a big thing for me and something I'm trying to improve."
Cecchini has a .356 on-base percentage and .400 slugging percentage, numbers that become more impressive since Savannah's Grayson Stadium is considered one of the worst ballparks for hitters.
"You just have to really focus on hitting line drives in this park," he said. "I've hit balls hard and they just catch them at the warning track. The ball just doesn't fly here. You have to really focus on hitting line drives. This field makes you stay within yourself and focus on line drives. It will help me in the long run."
Domonic Smith, the Mets' third-ranked prospect, chipped in two hits and scored twice for the Sand Gnats, while Stefan Sabol plated a pair of runs.
The support was more than enough for Savannah's John Gant (3-1), who gave up a run on five hits and struck out five over five innings. He's allowed exactly one run in three of his five starts.
Victor Reyes had two hits and two RBIs for the Braves.