Morgan homers twice in latest three-hit game

Mariners prospect matches career high with three RBIs in romp

Gareth Morgan is 9-for-14 with five RBIs and six runs scored in his last three games. (Clinton LumberKings)

By Chris Tripodi / MiLB.com | May 16, 2017 4:28 PM ET

After getting drafted 74th overall in 2014, Gareth Morgan hit .199/.250/.324 in 138 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League over the past three seasons. Those struggles have made his success this year all the sweeter.

Morgan recorded his first career multi-homer game and his third straight three-hit contest, blasting two long balls in Class A Clinton's 15-3 rout over Wisconsin on Tuesday at Fox Cities Stadium. He went 3-for-6 and matched his career high with three RBIs.


Gameday box score


"It's the mental side of the game, just having a better approach at the plate and sticking to it even if it does fail because in the long run it will produce numbers," Morgan said. "The past few years, I'd have an approach, but if it failed I'd look for a change. Keeping it simple and doing the same things over and over makes [that approach] more consistent."

Morgan started his day with an opposite-field single to right field off Zack Brown in the first before exploding along with his teammates a couple innings later. Clinton scored nine runs in the third and fourth, highlighted by Morgan's two-run homer to center in the third and his solo shot in the fourth that opened an 11-1 advantage.

Video: Clinton's Morgan mashes second homer of game

"In the second at-bat, I was [ahead], 3-1, and he just missed with off-speed away," Morgan said. "I was sitting dead-red, ready to hit the fastball, saw [the breaking ball] right out of his hand and put a good swing on it."

The 21-year-old outfielder was retired in his final three at-bats as the Wisconsin bullpen settled things down, but not after he extended his streak of three-hit games. That stretch has pulled his batting line from .247/.324/.387 four days ago to .299/.361/.486 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 29 games. He's one homer and 11 RBIs away from the career highs set over 55 games in 2015.

"I haven't really changed anything, I'm just sticking to what I've been working on in the cages and during practice. I've just gotten some pretty good pitches to hit," Morgan said. "Main thing I do is just top-hand drills, using the top hand for a couple rounds of batting practice off the tee, just thinking line drive up the middle."

The Toronto native wasn't the only LumberKing to enjoy a big day at the plate as every starter had at least one hit. Anthony Jimenez went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and four runs scored, while Yojhan Quevedo was 4-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs. Kristian Brito chipped in two hits, including a homer that was the first of back-to-back shots with Morgan in the fourth, and three RBIs. Mariners No. 20 prospect Luis Liberato tripled, singled and scored a run.

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"It makes it a lot easier not having to be that one guy to get things going," Morgan said. "The chain's already moving, just feeding off each other, back-to-back-to-back good at-bats. The guy ahead of you determines how you're gonna do, [which] kind of motivates you to have a better at-bat. [I like] how our team is picking it up. ... The past few games, we've put up a lot of hits and runs."

Clinton has totaled 50 runs during a four-game winning streak, which is equal to the number of strikeouts its pitching staff has recorded over the same span. Three LumberKings pitchers racked up 13 whiffs on Tuesday.

Mariners No. 28 prospect Nick Wells (1-3) allowed three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings for his first win since April 22, 2016. Kyle Wilcox fanned five of the seven batters he faced over 2 1/3 scoreless frames.

Chris Tripodi is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @christripodi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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