Jared Foster wasn't a big home run hitter in college, but whenever late May rolled around, his bat got hot. Now that he's in the Minor Leagues, nothing's changed.
The Angels' 19th-ranked prospect recorded his first-ever two-homer game and drove in a career-high runs to power Class A Burlington to an 8-0 blanking of Kane County on Wednesday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
"I guess that's how it works," he said with a laugh. "I'll go a while without one and when it gets around this time, I guess they start flying."
Last year at this time, Foster homered for LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament and was on the verge of being selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the Draft when he went yard again in the Tigers' College World Series opener against TCU.
Flash forward to Monday and Foster slugged his second long ball of the Midwest League campaign. As the seasons began to change, so did the 23-year-old outfielder's bat.
"It finally warmed up here, feeling some good swings on the bat. Just feeling good, not trying to do too much and let it happen," he said. "When you go up there and try to hit a home run, you're not going to hit one. So just trusting yourself and good things happen."
Foster let it happen early and often on Wednesday, starting in the first inning when he belted the third pitch of the game from Junior Garcia over the left field fence.
"It's one of those where you're battling up there, down 0-2," he said. "I got a slider down in the zone and just flicked my bat out there and let it go. It was good to get things going like that."
After flying out in the third, Foster squared up the first pitch he saw from Garcia in the fifth with two on and one out for his fourth jack of the season.
"I was just trying to hit a hard ball through the middle. I got a pitch I could handle and ended up turning on it and was able to get it out of here," he said. "That was the first time I have ever done that in the same game, so it was kinda cool, a pretty cool experience. Got a lead for our team and helped out, so pretty cool."
Foster added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to eclipse his previous high for RBIs in a game, set last July 4 with Rookie-level Orem.
"It's good. We've been pretty hot lately … " he said. "No matter what you're doing, you're helping out your team and it's great. So always a good feeling."
With college teammates like Astros top prospect Alex Bregman, Tigers No. 8 prospect JaCoby Jones and Phillies big leaguer Aaron Nola, Foster battled some tough competition in the SEC. Facing 2015 first-round picks like Carson Fulmer, the top White Sox prospect, got the Louisiana native primed for pro ball.
"It prepares you a lot. You're facing some of those first-round picks last year in the MLB Draft, facing them for all those years in college. And there's other guys before that that were first-rounders,"he said. "Obviously, there's a lot of talent in that conference and it prepares you a lot. You're not going to get to pro ball and jump right into it without seeing pitchers like that … So it was a good experience for me and helped me out a lot."
Foster's career night backed strong outings from Jose Rodriguez (3-3) and Luis Pena. The Bees starter gave up a hit and a walk while striking out four over five innings, while Pena fanned five in four perfect frames for his first Class A save.
"They went out there and they pounded the zone the whole game and made very good pitches when they needed to," Foster said. "It was a good game for them."
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.