Ferguson leads JetHawks in slugfest

Astros prospect hits pair of long balls, drives in career-high six runs

Drew Ferguson ranks third in the California League with a .395 on-base percentage. (K. Ross Way/Lancaster JetHawks)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | August 6, 2016 2:23 AM

Drew Ferguson's greatest feat on Friday wasn't a statistical accomplishment. It was putting into practice all he had worked on.

The Astros prospect homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs as Class A Advanced Lancaster outslugged Modesto, 13-8, at The Hangar.

Woodward, who finished 3-for-5, extended the JetHawks' lead to 4-0 with a two-run bloop single to left field in the bottom of the third. Three innings later, the 24-year-old outfielder slugged a solo shot over the right-field wall to cut Lancaster's deficit to 7-6.

Ferguson capped his night and his team's comeback with a three-run homer, this time to left field, in the eighth.

"I've been making strides as of late, it wasn't just a one-night thing," he said. "It happened to come to fruition moreso tonight than other nights. I made a more conscious effort to flatten out my swing, I think I was lifting the ball too much earlier. I was just concentrating on squaring up the mistake fastball over the plate and really working on putting my body in a good position to drive the baseball rather than force the ball or lift the ball in the air."

Ferguson said he was particularly pleased with the second homer because of his ability to make a change on the fly.

"I made a very conscious adjustment there because they had been pounding me inside with fastballs all night," he said. "Typically, I'm the type of hitter who likes the ball out over the plate or away from me that I can hit it the other way. That's what I'm usually comfortable with.

"They had done a pretty good job to that point of keeping the ball in, so I told myself before that at-bat I would look for that pitch because that's where they were going all night. I stood up a little taller and concentrated on getting the barrel there. Just delivering the barrel more than anything and not getting jammed."

The 2015 19th-round pick is batting .360 with six homers and 29 RBIs over his last 26 California League games. Ferguson said he's gratified to see the adjustments he's made result in his third career multi-homer contest and the most productive game of his career.

"Honestly, that's what I told my hitting coach, Darryl Robinson," he said. "It's wasn't that I hit a home run that was so gratifying, it's that I consciously tried to do something and was able to execute it. Hitting is so hard, it's easy to have your approach or plan go awry all the time. It was very gratifying to have a plan, execute it and reap the benefits. It's a night I'll remember for a while."

Brooks Marlow, Trent Woodward and Johnny Sewald also went yard for the JetHawks.

Lancaster starter Akeem Bostick (3-1) picked up the win, despite allowing seven runs on 10 hits and five walks while striking out three over six innings.

Josh Fuentes homered and drove in three runs, while Shane Hoelscher had four hits to lead the Nuts.

Modesto's Yency Almonte (8-9) had a personal three-game winning streak snapped. The Rockies' No. 20 prospect surrendered eight runs -- seven earned -- on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts over six frames.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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