Hays having a grand time with Baysox

Orioles No. 2 prospect slugs another slam and an RBI triple

Austin Hays is hitting .333/.367/.613 with 27 homers and 79 RBIs across two levels this season. (Terrance Williams/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | August 10, 2017 12:21 AM ET

With fellow Baysox outfielders Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander going yard in the first inning, Austin Hays was feeling the pressure.

"They were giving me a hard time that I hadn't hit one yet," he said with a laugh.

After knocking an RBI triple, Baltimore's No. 2 prospect met the challenge with his second grand slam in eight games as Double-A Bowie topped Harrisburg, 14-2, on Wednesday at Prince George Stadium.

Video: Hays belts grand slam for Baysox

"I was happy. I'm always happy when I see the ball go over the fence, so I had a smile on my face," Hays said. "We were all laughing when I got into the dugout because all three outfielders had at least one home run."

After going 0-for-2 to start the game against Taylor Hill (4-4), MLB.com's No. 100 overall prospect didn't change his approach for his third at-bat, coming up in the fifth with one on and one out against the Senators right-hander. After tripling on Opening Day, Hays hadn't tallied another three-bagger until July 30. But he didn't have to wait long for his third one, plating a run with a triple to center.

Gameday box score

"Just trying to get a good pitch to hit. He had gotten me to pop up a couple times earlier in the game, so I just wanted to take a step back and really focus on getting something I could drive," the right fielder said. "It felt good, it's exactly what I was trying to do. So to follow through ... with the plan is always good."

In his next at-bat, Hays came up with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth. Facing righty reliever Kyle Schepel, the 22-year-old said he was just looking for something to drive. When he got his pitch, Hays connected for his second career grand slam, after blasting his first one July 30 in the second game of a doubleheader. Prior to that, the 2016 third-round pick had gone 3-for-13 with four RBIs with the bases loaded to start his pro career.

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With the extra-base knocks, Hays is hitting .405 with 13 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak that boosted his average to .340 in 39 Eastern League games.

"I just imagine the ball being in a certain place when it comes out of the pitcher's hand, and so far, I've been able to just swing at pitches that are in that zone," he said. "I haven't been expanding and swinging at too many balls out of the zone."

Although Hays completed the outfield home run hat trick, Santander had the last laugh with a second blast in the eighth. Baltimore's No. 9 prospect, who bats one spot behind Hays, is hitting .417 with four long balls and 12 RBIs in 11 rehab games with Bowie.

"It's great," Hays said. "The guy's a beast, he's huge, he takes up the whole box. So knowing that the pitcher's looking at the on-deck circle with that guy standing behind me, I know they definitely don't want to put me on base and let that guy come up."

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Orioles No. 29 prospect David Hess (9-8) allowed two runs on two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in six frames.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. 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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