Travelers' Bishop shines in slugfest

Mariners No. 5 prospect homers, plates three on four-hit night

Braden Bishop has raised his batting average 51 points since May 15 to .246. (Ozzy Jaime/

By Nathan Brown / | May 30, 2018 12:42 AM

Braden Bishop hinted at turning the corner this season after his first career five-hit game on May 17.

On Tuesday, the Mariners' fifth-ranked prospect proved that night wasn't an outlier.

Bishop produced the sixth four-hit effort of his three-year career, homering and driving in three runs as Double-A Arkansas outlasted Midland, 16-10, at Security Bank Ballpark. The Travelers set season highs in runs, hits (21) and extra-base hits (nine).

The center fielder played a key role in all three categories and said he and his teammates were amped before a single pitch was thrown after finding a strong breeze blowing out to left field when they arrived at the stadium.

Video: Arkansas' Bishop clubs two-run homer

"I think that really excited our hitters," he said. "We've been working really hard to get pitches in our boxes and hitting them. The confidence of having the wind blowing out helped do that. But the guys on the other side, they have good hitters and guys with advanced approaches and swings."

Bishop took advantage of the breeze early, knocking a leadoff double to left in the first inning. He followed with a two-run homer to left in the second that scored Joe DeCarlo. His single on a line drive to left in the third capped a 3-for-3 start that helped the Travelers build a 10-4 lead. But the RockHounds answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning and added one in the fourth.

Gameday box score

The University of Washington product walked in the fifth and delivered an RBI single in a five-run sixth.

From there, the Travelers bullpen took over. Matt Walker, David McKay and Matt Festa worked the final 4 2/3 innings and restored order by limiting the RockHounds to one run on four hits while striking out eight.

"Our pitchers work really hard every day. They're always out there working on their craft and it was good to see those guys come into the game and see the stuff they've been working on, using their fastballs to work their off-speed stuff more effectively," Bishop said. "They were just attacking hitters, and it would have been easy to cower away with everything going on. They didn't do that, and it's a testament to what they've put in."

MiLB include

Bishop said his surge in May -- he has a .292/.354/.398 slash line --  has come from a recommitment to his pregame work in the batting cage that helped so much a season ago. The 24-year-old hit .306 between Class A Advanced Modesto and Arkansas. Nights like Tuesday have given him confidence that what he's doing works in the long run.

"Those games have just simplified things for me," he said. "Whether I get hits or not, I'm definitely feeling better. But I think the biggest thing for me is detaching myself from the results. I think this year has been a blessing in disguise for me, with struggling early. I just threw the results out the window last month and I haven't been focused on them since my recommitment. Last year, I was focused on good at-bats, whether I put together four hits or none. After tonight, I could easily go zero-for-whatever tomorrow; it's just how this game is."

Beau Amaral and Chuck Taylor contributed three hits apiece for the Travelers, with Taylor driving in three runs. Dario Pizzano led Arkansas with four RBIs.

The RockHounds totaled four homers, two each from Tyler Marincov and J.P. Sportman. Both had two-run shots in the second, while Marincov hit an inside-the-park grand slam in the third and tied his career high with six RBIs. 

Video: Midland's Marincov slams inside-the-parker

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

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