Casey Golden discovered his power stroke in his final season in college. He has kept right on mashing in the pros.
The Colorado outfield prospect produced his second two-homer game in three nights, plating five runs in Rookie-level Grand Junction's 11-5 defeat of Missoula on Thursday at Ogren Park Allegiance Field.
Golden ripped the first of his two blasts in the fifth inning after flying out to right field in the first and walking to lead off the fourth. With two outs, he pounced on the first pitch from Osprey left-hander Brady Muller for a three-run shot to left.
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"My previous at-bats, they just pounded me inside, so I looked there and I saw a pitch that was on the inner third," Golden said. "I didn't try to see fastball or see slider. I just tried to react to a ball in."
The 22-year-old struck again two innings later when he lifted a 1-2 pitch from righty Damian Defrank over the wall in straight-away center for a solo homer. He added a fifth RBI on a sacrifice fly to right in the eighth.
Golden also went yard twice against Missoula on Tuesday during a game in which he drove in four runs. He has four home runs and 10 RBIs over his last three games and has blasted off five times in his last 10 contests.
"It's feeling really good right now," the North Carolina native said. "I definitely feel like the last couple games I got locked back in at the plate and I've been able to square up some baseballs, and that's always a good feeling."
A 22nd-round pick this year out of UNC Wilmington, Golden ranks second in the Pioneer League with 12 homers in 35 games for the Rockies. He's tied with Ogen's Luis Paz and one behind Anthony Villa of Great Falls for the circuit lead. The 6-foot-2 outfielder sports a .267 average with 32 RBIs.
Golden attributes his power to the tutelage of his coaches at school. After failing to crack double-digits in home runs in his first three seasons, his coaches worked with him on putting the ball in the air more. He responded by ripping 21 dingers as a senior -- two more than his first three years combined -- before Colorado selected him in the Draft.
"I've carried that [approach] to my first year here in the pros," Golden said. "It's an approach that works. I'm trying to stay consistent with it and just trust it and not try to hit home runs, but hit hard line drives up the middle of the field. If they go out, they go out, but it always feels good when they do."
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Rockies No. 30 prospect Chad Spanberger went 3-for-5 and also homered for Grand Junction, while Kennard McDowell added a dinger on a four-hit night.
Rockies starter Jorge Oviedo (2-1) gave up two unearned runs on five hits with four strikeouts over five innings.
Muller surrendered five runs -- two earned -- on eight hits and two walks while fanning two over six frames.
Eduardo Diaz contributed four hits, including a pair of doubles, for the Osprey.