Through three at-bats Saturday, Ronny Mauricio was perfect and staring at a memorable evening.
MLB.com's No. 92 overall prospect finished 4-for-5 -- and a triple shy of the cycle -- with two RBIs and a run scored in Class A Columbia's 9-5 loss to Rome at State Mutual Stadium. The four hits matched his career high.
Gameday box score
"I think one of the biggest things is he's not afraid," Fireflies manager Pedro Lopez told The State newspaper last month. "If he makes a mistake, he doesn't put his head down. That's hard for young guys."
Leading off the game, Mauricio stroked an 0-1 offering from right-hander Alan Rangel into right field for a double. He was erased two batters later on a double play.
The Mets' second-ranked prospect had a one-out single to center in the third and was left stranded. In the fifth, behind 1-2 in the count, the switch-hitting shortstop smacked a two-run homer to right off Rangel to get Columbia within 5-3. It marked the first time this season he's had multiple RBIs in a game.
Facing right-handed reliever Victor Vodnik in the seventh, Mauricio lined a base hit to center. With a shot at his first five-hit game, the 18-year-old popped out to end the game.
After going 0-for-4 on Opening Day, the 6-foot-3 shortstop put together an eight-game hit streak to raise his average to a season-high .368. He was 8-for-39 (.205) to close the month of April at .286, and he's been consistently in that range throughout May. After Saturday, he's hitting .283 to rank 17th in the South Atlantic League.
It was the third four-hit effort this season for the native of the Dominican Republic and the second time he's battered the Braves for four hits.
"I think he's a special kid that enjoys playing the game. It's a privilege for me to have him in my lineup every day," Lopez told the newspaper.
2019 MiLB include
Braves No. 30 prospect Justin Dean went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. He fell a single shy of the cycle, while Trey Harris also had three hits, including his fifth homer of the season.
Rangel improved to 3-2 after allowing five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and a walk while striking out three in five innings. Vodnick worked around three hits a one walk over the final four frames for his first Minor League save, punching out a pair.
Mets No. 3 prospect Mark Vientos went yard for the second game in a row for the Fireflies, connecting for a two-run shot off Rangel in the fifth. It's the second time in his career that he's homered in back-to-back games.