It had been nearly a decade since Corban Joseph tallied five hits or five RBIs in a game. And never had he done both in the same contest -- until Saturday.
The Orioles infielder fell a triple shy of the cycle and matched career highs in hits and RBIs as Double-A Bowie rallied for a 15-6, 10-inning win over Harrisburg at FNB field. He smacked his first homer of the season, doubled and singled three times.
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Even with a chance at history in his final two plate appearances, Joseph said a triple wasn't in the cards after a long night.
"I really didn't even think about it until it was probably the extra innings until someone said, 'You think you have a triple in you tonight?" Joseph recalled with a laugh. "I was like, 'Oh, man, probably not' because I was dragging after that last hit."
Joseph, originally a Yankees prospect, last collected five RBIs with Class A Advanced Tampa on May 30, 2010 and had five hits for Class A Charleston on July 25, 2009. He's 13-for-31 with two extra-base hits and nine RBIs to start the season with the Baysox. What led to the career night was a little extra focus and a refined game plan at the dish, the 2008 fourth-round pick said.
"I was talking to [hitting coach Keith] Bodie earlier before today's game," Joseph said. "I just wanted to fine-tune my approach a little bit and kind of get back to tightening things up. In the first couple of games you have all the excitement and jitters. The season is starting and you kind of want to push a little bit. Now it's time to get the jitters out, really start fine-tuning and get back to what made you successful in the past."
With one out in the first inning, the 29-year-old worked a 2-0 count against Nationals No. 14 prospect Luis Reyes before crushing the next pitch over the right-center field wall for a solo dinger. Joseph believes the "tightening up" during that at-bat helped him go deep for the first time since Sept. 2.
"I was really trying to get a pitch a little bit up to drive into the gap and really kind of spark the offense early," he said. "And, sure enough, it was a fastball in the middle and I was just fortunate enough to put a good swing on it. I was just trying to backspin the ball and it held up there long enough."
After flying out in the third, Joseph stepped in an inning later with two outs and two on. Looking for a pitch on the outside corner, he delivered an opposite-field double to plate Erick Salcedo and seventh-ranked Orioles prospect Cedric Mullins.
The 6-foot, 185-pound middle infielder punched a single back up the middle in the seventh after battling for nine pitches with reliever Kaleb Fleck. Joseph drove home Mullins with another single in the ninth to put Bowie up, 6-5, but Harrisburg rallied to tie it in the bottom half.
As the Baysox broke the game open with a nine-run 10th, the Tennessee native capped his night with another RBI single as Mullins scampered home from second.
"I was hoping to get up again," Joseph said. "I really wanted to get another at-bat, and when you're feeling good and you have the opportunity to win the game or even go to extras to potentially win the game, I think everybody wanted that opportunity.
"I think in that situation -- and even in all of the at-bats -- my thought process is to tell myself to not do too much, don't try to be the hero, just pass the torch. Cedric got a great jump and was stealing. I got jammed a little bit, but I stayed true with my swing and stayed through it. I was lucky enough to hit that one over the shortstop's head."
Supplementing Joseph's performance, Mullins homered, drove in three runs and scored four times, while top-ranked Austin Hays smacked two singles and walked to round out Bowie's 16-hit night.
In his season debut, Orioles No. 4 prospect Hunter Harvey gave up one run on two hits while striking out one in two innings.
Joseph said he relishes helping the new crop of players develop and succeed as they rise through the ranks.
"Growing up in those guys' shoes and you have that prospect label, there's an aspect when you go up through the levels of Double-A and Triple-A, for me personally, I leaned on some of those older guys," Joseph said. "A lot of these guys ask questions, and that's good. You've got a lot of guys who want to improve with their game at any way they can. It's really cool for me to kind of come full swing and be an older guy and kind of pay it forward."