Nick Ahmed couldn't have done much more for Lynchburg on Friday. Sometimes even a career night can't top a slugfest.
The Braves' No. 10 prospect reeled off a career-high five hits, plated a run and scored another Friday as the Class A Advanced Hillcats fell to the visiting Potomac Nationals, 11-8.
Lynchburg fell behind, 7-0, and Ahmed took that as a cue to roll up his sleeves.
"We got down early, so the team just tried to have some quality at-bats and put ourselves in a position to comeback," he said.
Ahmed singled in the first, knocked home Mycal Jones with another base hit in the fourth, doubled and scored in the sixth, added a single in the seventh and finished with a double in the ninth. He was retired just once, grounding out with runners at the corners in the third.
"I've worked really hard over the last few weeks to improve on driving the ball through the middle of the field," said Ahmed, who is ranked behind Andrelton Simmons as Atlanta's No. 2 shortstop prospect. "And that worked for me tonight."
The Braves' 2011 second-round pick has collected hits in five straight games and is batting .282 in the Carolina League. Friday's performance raised his average 20 points.
"I feel like it has been [a good start], I started off hot and trailed off a few weeks ago and just worked really hard to get back to where I was," Ahmed said. "I've been watching a lot of video and picking up things here and there, working hard with my hitting coach, Bobby Moore, and the hitting rover for the Braves has been in town, so I'm working hard to get a good balanced position to hit."
The 22-year-old was the 85th overall pick last June out of the University of Connecticut and batted .262 with four homers, 24 RBIs and 18 steals for Rookie-level Danville. The 5-for-6 performance against Wilmington eclipsed a 4-for-5 effort on April 24 against Carolina.
Ahmed said the work he's put in since his Appalachian League days is paying off at the plate now at Class A Advanced.
"I did OK in Danville, I guess. It wasn't a season offensively that I would say was successful, so I knew I had to make some adjustments and improve," he said. "And that started in the instructional league in the winter.
"I worked really hard to get to a better, more balanced position to hit the ball. It's allowed my athleticism to come out, and it's worked. Hopefully, I can continue to work and develop more of an approach."
Ahmed was responsible for five of 28 hits in a game that featured just one 1-2-3 inning. Despite all the hits, the clubs combined to strand 23 runners.
"I can't ever remember having five hits in the pros or college, so I guess it was a career high for me," he said. "Hopefully, I can build on the performance tonight and keep it going."