After his first 14 professional games, Casey Golden may have been a .189 hitter, but he wasn't frustrated. And the last two days have shown why.
The Colorado outfield prospect registered his first career multi-homer game on his second straight three-hit night, driving in a career-high six runs as Rookie-level Grand Junction beat Billings, 12-7, at Dehler Park.
"It's felt good to put a couple of quality at-bats together and finally get some results," Golden said. "I felt like I've been having good at-bats all year, but sometimes you don't really get anything to show for it. It definitely feels good to see some results."
Gameday box score
Riding a five-game hitting streak, Golden is 6-for-10 over his last two games and has belted homers in three of his last four to bring his season total to six. He entered Wednesday's win with eight RBIs.
The victory marked the 22-year-old's most impressive power display of the season. Golden helped get his team started in the top of the first inning when he clobbered a 1-2 offering from Tyler Mondile to left field for a three-run shot.
After the Rockies hit a Shael Mendoza's solo homer to right in the second, Golden came through again in the third. Following Chad Spanberger's leadoff single, the designated hitter belted a long ball to left-center. One inning later, he capped offensive display by lacing a two-out RBI triple to center.
"Me and the coaches have been trying to kind of talk about an approach that works at this level now," Golden said. "I'm just trying not to swing at balls, seeing curveballs up. I want to say my first three at-bats were all two strikes. I've just been working on seeing the ball even with two strikes, stick to my approach and try to put the ball in play more. That's what my goal was, and I had some pretty good results."
Grand Junction scored in each of its first five innings and has won four of its last five games after losing seven of its previous nine. Four other Rockies had multiple hits on the night, including right fielder Ramon Marcelino, who matched Golden's game-high three.
"We had a really solid offensive game," he said. "We scored in about every inning for the first five or six innings. It definitely felt good to have some good at-bats and especially to get some RBIs and get the pitchers some run support."
Colorado plucked Golden from UNC-Wilmington in the 20th round of last month's Major League First-Year Player Draft following his senior year. The North Carolina native quickly found a spot among his Grand Junction teammates by being a part of a group coming into pro ball from similar circumstances.
"When I landed in Grand Junction, I think I was with five or six seniors," he said. "We all started to bond right away. I think the relationships that I made with those guys right off the get-go made it really relaxed and simple. We all had the same goal in common and just went out there to play."
Though the Pioneer League season is less than a month old, Golden and his teammates quickly formed connections.
"We're together for seven or eight hours a day, so you really get to know the guys and get to know about them and where they come from," he said. "We're all from all different states and around the world, but [the relationships] definitely help you kind of relax."
Golden has upped his slash line from .171/.277/.366 on July 5 to .254/.319/.603 after his 16th professional game.
"It shows that the work's paying off, the time in the cages and the time off the field working with the coaches, picking their brains because they're really knowledgeable and have the experience," he said. "I'm just trusting the process. It's totally different. It's a lot more kind of about yourself and growing as a professional. It just feels good to finally see some results."