Hayes paces Curve in EL West clincher

Bucs No. 2 prospect raps out four hits in second straight game

Ke'Bryan Hayes entered the day with a slash line of .302/.402/.419 during day games this season. (Andy Grosh/agphotosports)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | September 2, 2018 6:55 PM

One four-hit game wasn't enough for Ke'Bryan Hayes

The Pirates' second-ranked prospect delivered his second four-hit performance of the season Friday against Bowie. After sitting out Saturday's game, he picked up where he left off Sunday, smoking four hits to tie a career high and driving in three runs as Double-A Altoona bested Bowie, 10-8, at Prince George's Stadium. With the win, the Curve clinched the Eastern League's Western Division title. 

Video: Altoona's Hayes doubles in two runs

Hayes did the bulk of his damage early with four hits through the first four frames. In the first inning, the 21-year-old looped a hit to center field against Baysox starter Bruce Zimmermann. Pirates No. 16 prospect Will Craig plated him as the game's first run two batters later. Facing Zimmermann in the second, Hayes fought off an 0-2 pitch to right for an RBI knock, scoring No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker, who had tripled in a run. 

MLB.com's No. 52 overall prospect barreled up a 2-0 offering from Bowie reliever Chris Lee in the third for a two-run double. Hayes beat out on an infield single in the fourth and flew out to right in the seventh in his final at-bat. 

"A lot of times people give away at-bats because they are thinking about the season being over," Hayes told MiLB.com earlier this month. "Every day you have to go out there and play like it's the first game of the season. You always want to finish strong."

Gameday box score

Hayes has recorded three consecutive multi-hit games and has eight hits in his last 11 at-bats. Over that span, he's driven in six runs. The Tomball, Texas native has batted .290/.371/.438 with seven homers and 44 RBIs this season. He's collected five four hits in a game five times, and his first four-hit game this year came on June 1 against Hartford, when he smacked three doubles. 

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"A big focus for me this year was just being ready early in the count, doing damage to the pull side," Hayes told MiLB.com. "It depends on who you are facing, what they're going to try do and what's worked for them other times. A lot of times they're going to try to stick to that, because it's worked for them. It's gone really well. I started out like 1-for-20 at the beginning of the year. Approach-wise, I just started trying to get a little early with my timing to get the barrel out."

Tucker finished with two hits and three RBIs. 

Orioles No. 2 prospect Ryan Mountcastle clubbed a two-run homer and fourth-ranked Austin Hays added a solo shot for the Baysox. No. 28 Brett Cumberland kept Bowie in the game with a grand slam.

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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