Auburn's Eusebio slugs way to career night

Nats infield prospect homers twice, plates six, continues hot month

Splitting time between first and third base, Diomedes Eusebio has committed seven errors this season. (Rick Nelson/

By Kelsie Heneghan / | August 31, 2014 12:33 AM ET

Diomedes Eusebio took a little extra time jogging around the bases in the sixth inning on Saturday.

The Nationals prospect had just slugged his second homer of the game and his season of hard work was paying off.

"I had to tell him to run a little faster," Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said with a laugh. "He was enjoying it a little."

Eusebio collected three hits and drove in a career-high six runs, powering the Short-Season Doubledays to a 12-7 triumph at Mahoning Valley.

The cleanup hitter belted a two-run shot in a four-run first inning. Retired in his next two at-bats, Eusebio -- who turns 22 next month -- smacked another two-run blast in the sixth for his first career multi-homer game.

"You could see it coming, he has had a good week," Cathcart said. "He hit the second one a long way down the left-field line. It's good for him. ... He was pretty excited. He's just a great teammate, guys love him, he's working hard."

After surpassing his previous personal best of three RBIs, the native of the Dominican Republic added a two-run single in the eighth.

Eusebio got off to a slow start, hitting .188 in June and July. But everything has been clicking for him in the final month of the season, especially this past week. He has seven hits and seven RBIs in his last four games to get his average up to .259.

"Stuff he has been working on has been translating into the game," Cathcart said. "He's in a little bit of a hitting position, has a lot of power, but is still a young guy trying to figure out his approach.

"He's just maturing as a player and a young man. I'm happy for him. He's put in a lot of work."

According to his manager, Eusebio had a big leg kick and a tendency to chase pitches out of the strike zone. But he's shown marked improvement as the season unfolded. Those three hits on Saturday gave him a .333/.418/.521 slash line with 11 RBIs in 13 games this month.

"It's not as much the results as watching the process. He is trying to be more consistent at the plate," Cathcart said. "His strike zone command has been a lot better and ... he's got the power potential but is still a young guy.

"He probably wishes the season wasn't coming to he end now, but he's probably thinking about the offseason and what he can do for next spring."

Eusebio's career night helped Auburn starter Austin Williams (4-3) pick up a win in his final start of the season. The 2014 sixth-round pick allowed a run on four hits while striking out three over five innings.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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