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Gillaspie homers in third straight game

Rays' No. 5 prospect has six long balls, 11 RBIs in last nine contests
June 13, 2015

There's something about hitting in bunches that Casey Gillaspie's bat likes. But if you ask the owner, he said it's just baseball.

The Rays' fifth-ranked prospect homered in his third straight game Saturday night as Class A Bowling Green topped Wisconsin, 5-2, at Bowling Green Ballpark.

All but three of Gillaspie's 15 homers have come within three games of another, highlighted by his current stretch.

"It's just kind of how baseball is. There's spurts where you hit home runs and spurts where you're not hitting anything, so I think it's just like anything else in baseball, just one of those things that happens," said the 22-year-old first baseman, who leads the Midwest League with 15 homers. "I'm seeing the ball good, taking pitches that I should be taking and swinging at the ones that I should be swinging at."

Gillaspie was 0-for-2 with a walk before hammering his latest roundtripper in the eighth inning. The switch-hitter drilled a solo shot to right field to pad the Hot Rods' lead.

"I had the same [approach] as always: get a good pitch and put a good swing on it and not try to do too much," he said "We're playing well as a team and that's the most important, so it was good to contribute to my team's win tonight."

The Wichita State product is hitting .355 with six homers, 11 RBIs and eight walks in his last nine games. He's got an improved eye to thank but is more focused on his team's 7-2 record during that span.

"I've got a good approach right now. I'm not trying to do too much, I'm taking good pitches that I should be taking and swinging at the ones that I can barrel up pretty good," he said. "It feels good. More importantly, we're playing good baseball right now; camaraderie around the guys is great, so we're playing good baseball. That's most important."

After spending a full season in the Missouri Valley Conference, then playing 71 games with Class A Short Season Hudson Valley, Gillsaspie said the long year took its toll. Now refreshed with a better understanding of his strike zone, the 20th overall pick in the 2014 Draft already has more than doubled last season's total of seven homers.

"I'm not swinging at everything that I think I can hit; I'm more selective up there and focused on the ball up the middle earlier in the count and taking the ones that aren't," he explained. "I wanted to hit those balls out of the park instead of waiting for something that is a little higher up in the zone. I like the ball down, but I think that I can do more damage with balls that are up in the zone and over the middle."

Reliever Edgar Gomez (4-3) notched the win after scattering five hits and a walk over three scoreless innings.

Zach Cooper (0-1) surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on three hits with one strikeout in two innings out of the Timber Rattlers bullpen.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.