If the International League really is a dress rehearsal for the Majors, Ryan Mountcastle appears ready for showtime.
The second-ranked Orioles prospect added four hits, including a homer and a double, five RBIs and two runs scored to his Triple-A resume on Saturday as Norfolk split a doubleheader with Charlotte at Harbor Park. The Tides won the nightcap, 5-2, after dropping the opener, 6-5.
Video: Mountcastle goes yard for Tides
The 22-year-old raised his batting average 38 points to .306 with his performance across the twinbill. He brought his RBI total to 17, which leads the IL, and his 19 hits place him in a five-way tie for fourth-best in the circuit -- four behind league leader Christian Colon of Louisville.
Mountcastle has reached safely in eight consecutive games while registering three straight multi-hit efforts. He's 7-for-10 with four extra-base hits and five runs scored over that time. The 2015 first-rounder also has driven in 11 runs in his last six games, picking up at least one RBI in each contest.
In Saturday's first game, MLB.com's No. 67 overall prospect went 2-for-3 with a roundtripper and four RBIs. After striking out on three pitches against third-ranked White Sox prospect Dylan Cease in the first inning, Mountcastle turned around an 0-2 offering from the right-hander in the third and lined a single to left field with the bases loaded to break a scoreless tie.
Game 1 box score
Two innings later, Mountcastle stepped in against MLB.com's No. 20 overall prospect for a third time and connected on a 2-1 fastball, sending it beyond the wall in left-center for a two-run blast that gave the Tides a 5-0 lead. It was his fourth dinger in the last five games.
Cease allowed five runs -- three earned -- on four hits and two walks while fanning five over 4 2/3 frames. He did not factor in the decision as the Knights rallied for three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
In the nightcap, Mountcastle again went 2-for-3, this time with a double, an RBI and a run scored. The Florida native put Norfolk on the board with a double off an 0-2 pitch from right-hander Donn Roach that he laced into left and scored Mason Williams from first in the opening frame. Mountcastle faced Roach again in the third and dropped a base hit into left to set the Tides up with runners on the corners and two outs. Anthony Santander followed with a fly ball to center that was misplayed for a two-run error.
2019 MiLB include
In his final at-bat, Mountcastle went down swinging against Roach.
Josh Rogers (1-1) earned his first IL win of the season after allowing a run on four hits with four strikeouts over six frames. Orioles No. 16 prospect DJ Stewart collected a pair of hits, an RBI and scored a run for the Tides.
No. 22 White Sox prospect Seby Zavala accounted for all of Charlotte's offense in Game 2 with a pair of solo jacks. Roach (0-2) yielded five runs -- one earned -- on seven hits while fanning three over five innings.