Even in the pouring rain, the outlook was sunny for Kellin Deglan on Tuesday.
"This is the best game I've ever had -- two homers to put the team in the lead and the game-winning RBI. ... It's definitely the best game I've had," the Rangers prospect said.
After a weather delay of more than a half hour, Deglan went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and a three-run homer to tally a career-high seven RBIs in Class A Hickory's 11-10 win against Kannapolis. The victory was the ninth straight for the Crawdads.
Deglan previously hit two home runs in a game on three occasions, including two with five RBIs for Hickory. He plated four in a two-homer game for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach last July 30.
Even before Deglan stepped into the box Tuesday, he helped to set the tone. The 22-year-old catcher threw out would-be base stealer Cleuluis Rondon to get the second out of the top of the first.
"Rondon got on there and [went] on the first pitch. He had a good jump. I knew I was going to need to get rid of it really quickly," Deglan said. "I put a good throw on him and [shortstop Luis] Marte made a good tag and we were able to shut down their momentum right away. That was good."
With two outs and two on in the bottom half of the frame, the left-handed hitter took Intimidators starter Tyler Barnette deep over the right-field field.
"It was my first game hitting in the five-hole," the native of British Columbia said. "I really wanted to have a good game and show them that's where I want to hit. Coming out to hit a three-run homer in the first inning made me feel good about that."
After stranding five runners by flying out in the third and the fifth, Deglan took advantage of a shot at redemption in the sixth. Batting with two outs and the bases loaded, he again homered to right, this time victimizing Kannapolis' Matt Abramson.
"I got out a couple innings before with the bases loaded, and I knew I was going to get [up] again this time. The first pitch, he came at me with a strike inside. I knew if he came inside again, I was going to make him pay. Sure enough, he did and I got the [bat] head on it.
"Right when I hit it, I knew it was long gone. I put my head down and yelled 'yeah' or something like that. The crowd was going crazy. We needed it. We had guys on earlier and didn't get them in, so getting the big hit was huge. Coming into the dugout, everybody was really pumped. We really wanted to keep the winning streak going."
He lined a two-out single to right off Abramson in the eighth.
"I was feeling good [going into that at-bat]. Any fastball middle-in, I was going to crush, and they kept pitching me inside," Deglan said. "I ripped it through the four-hole. But with a couple of big hits in the game, you have to stay within yourself going into at-bats, not overthinking or assuming they're going to pitch you different. You have to stick with your approach."
It rained off and on throughout the game, most heavily in the middle innings, when Minor League veteran Kevin Pucetas (1-1) -- who's rebuilding his game as a knuckleball pitcher -- allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk through 3 1/3 innings for the Crawdads.
"It was tough for both teams. [Kannapolis] ended up walking in a couple runs," said Deglan. "Pucetas pitched for us when it was pouring pretty good. He battled pretty good, and we have to give him a lot of credit for holding us there. He gave us a lot of confidence, and we were able to get him the win."
Christian Stringer was 3-for-4 with two homers, a double and three RBIs for the Intimidators.