Bijan Rademacher's breakout year was apparently not limited to the regular season.
After setting career highs in virtually every offensive category with Class A Advanced Daytona in his third year of pro ball, the outfielder now is dominating in the playoffs.
The 23-year-old went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk as the Cubs punched their ticket to the Florida State League Championship Series with an 8-4 win over the host Dunedin Blue Jays on Wednesday.
"I think I did a great job," said Rademacher, who went 3-for-3 with three RBIs on Tuesday in Game 1 of the best-of-3 set. "I did what the team needed me to do in the heart of the order. I'm just there to drive in runs and get [designated hitter Kyle] Schwarber and [first baseman Dan] Vogelbach as much support as I can."
Selected in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft, Rademacher batted .281 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs in 111 games this year. But the midseason All-Star enjoys playing in the postseason the most.
"That's when I seem to thrive the best," Rademacher said. "Everywhere I've been my whole life, I just step up, it's more fun. It's how the game is supposed to be. In pressure moments, whoever has the most fun seems to do the best."
Center fielder Jacob Hannemann went 3-for-4 with two runs scored at the top of the order and second baseman Gioskar Amaya collected a pair of hits and two runs out of the No. 2 spot.
"The beginning of the year, everybody saw how much we struggled and no one thought we could turn it around," Rademacher said. "To compete for a championship, the team came together and we have each other's backs every day. We didn't give up when we were down the most. That shows there's a lot of character on this team and that is what the club wants.
"It means a lot because it shows that all the hard work I've put in and that my parents [Kent and Parvin] have put in to get me to this point is paying off. I will continue to keep working hard and continuing my work ethic and dedication. That will get me to where I want to be.
The Cubs will face the Miracle in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Championship Series on Thursday. Daytona, representing the North Division, will have home field advantage, as dictated by the league's alternating years policy.
In other Florida State League action:
Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 2
D.J. Baxendale allowed an unearned run on six hits and a walk while striking out five batters over seven innings as the host Miracle swept their best-of-3 first-round series. Dalton Hicks clubbed a two-run homer and Travis Harrison added two RBIs and a run. Shane Carle surrendered six runs -- five earned -- on five hits over 2 1/3 innings for the Marauders. Box score