Mustangs' Aquino slugs two more homers

Reds prospect notches seven RBIs a night after driving in three runs

Aristides Aquino leads the Pioneer League with nine homers and ranks second with 30 RBIs. (Paul Ruhter/Billings Mustangs)

By Mark Emery / | July 21, 2014 1:37 AM ET

If you're looking to beat the summer heat, stay away from Aristides Aquino.

After going deep in his final two at-bats on Saturday, the red-hot Reds prospect homered in his opening two at-bats on Sunday. Not satisfied by hitting four long balls in four plate appearances, he went 4-for-5 with a career-high seven RBIs in Rookie-level Billings' 19-11 thumping of Ogden.

"He's got so much raw talent," Mustangs hitting coach Kevin Mahar said. "He's locked in. He's not missing his pitches, not chasing their pitches. He's fun to watch right now."

A night earlier, Aquino crushed a two-run homer in the eighth inning before pulling a solo shot to left in the ninth in an 11-10 loss at Ogden. Facing the Raptors again, he smacked a grand slam to left off starter John Richy in the first, then deposited a pitch from Abdiel Velasquez beyond the center-field fence with one on in the third.

The native of the Dominican Republic strode to the plate again with one out and a runners at second in the fourth. While he didn't hit a fifth straight homer, he got the runner in with a double to center.

"To be honest, we were kind of surprised he got a pitch to hit in that at-bat with first base open," Mahar said. "The guy threw a changeup low and he just stayed through it and smoked a line drive in the left-center gap."

The 20-year-old outfielder led off the sixth with a single to center. Despite all the hits and RBIs to that point, it was what happened in his fifth at-bat that most impressed his hitting coach -- Aquino worked a walk against Karch Kowalczyk.

"[It was] the fact that he didn't try to do too much," Mahar said, "didn't try to go hit another home run, just took what was given to him and didn't chase, got on, got the walk out of it."

Aquino got one more chance in the ninth, when he made it to second base on an error by third baseman Michael Ahmed.

Over the weekend, he went 6-for-10 with four homers, a double, 10 RBIs and six runs scored. In 31 games in his second stateside season, he has compiled a .313/.350/.633 slash line, leads the league with nine homers and ranks second with 30 RBIs. He also ranks first with 21 extra-base hits and 81 total bases.

"He's got incredible power," Mahar said. "He has an insane amount of power. He's got those long arms, creates a lot of leverage in his swing.

"In these last two games, he's been great. He's been calm, hasn't tried to do too much with those guys on."

Two nights after hitting three homers, Ogden's Justin Chigbogu went 4-for-6 with another roundtripper and three RBIs. Kelvin Ramos also drove in three runs for the Raptors.

Of Billings' 18 hits, Ty Washington also recorded four, while Alex Greer had three. Washington, Brian O'Grady, Taylor Sparks, Greer and Argenis Aldazoro joined Aquino in posting multi-RBI performances.

Reliever Soid Marquez (4-1) got the win, despite allowing two runs on three hits in two innings. Velasquez (1-4) was charged with five runs on six hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.

Mark Emery is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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