Patrick Mathis is making the most of the opportunity to live out what he considers to be a dream come true as a professional ballplayer with Rookie-level Greeneville.
Mathis clubbed a grand slam for his first Minor League homer as part of a three-hit game and drove in a career-high five runs as the Astros ripped Bluefield, 11-0, on Friday night at Bowen Field. Through 11 games, the 2017 22nd-round pick is hitting .237 with 11 RBIs and eight runs scored.
Gameday box score
After getting off to a rocky start, Mathis has collected seven of his nine hits over the past three games. The Venus, Texas, native worked with the organization's hitting coordinator, Ralph Dickenson, and discovered that his front shoulder was cutting off his swing.
"I just opened up my stance a little bit more. I feel like I was getting beat on the inside pitch," Mathis said. "Now, I feel really good after I tweaked some things and got used to everything and made the adjustments from metal [bats] to wood."
Prior to being drafted, the outfield prospect batted .245/.376/.432 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in his junior season at the University of Texas.
After being limited to one hit over five innings by Bluefield starter Elio Silva, Greeneville exploded for five runs in the sixth. With Joel Espinal (1-2) on the mound for the Blue Jays and one out, Cody Bohanek broke the scoreless tie when he belted the first offering over the left field fence for his third homer.
Gilberto Celestino followed with a single to center and stole second ahead of a walk to Roman Garcia and Colton Shaver's base hit to right that set the stage for Mathis, who flied out twice against Silva. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder clubbed Espinal's first offering beyond the fence in right-center.
"The guy was kind of wild and it was bases loaded," Mathis recalled. "I told myself ... 'He'll probably give me a cookie here.' So, I was looking for it and I got it."
Greeneville piled on six more runs in the eighth. Mathis contributed an infield single with the bases loaded to plate a run before scoring on a double to left by Oscar Campos. Mathis started a threat in the ninth with a one-out single, but did not score.
Celestino contributed three singles, scored twice and drove in a run for Greeneville.
Chavez Young had three singles and Antony Fuentes tripled and singled for Bluefield, which was held to six hits by Leovanny Rodriguez and two relievers.