Call it intuition, a sixth sense or just a gut feeling. Whatever it was, Jarred Kelenic knew one thing as he strode to the plate in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday night: he was going to hit a home run.He just didn't know it was going to
Call it intuition, a sixth sense or just a gut feeling. Whatever it was, Jarred Kelenic knew one thing as he strode to the plate in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday night: he was going to hit a home run.
He just didn't know it was going to tie the game.
MLB.com's No. 22 overall prospect crushed a two-out, game-tying three-run shot, capping another two-homer night and helping Double-A Arkansas rally for a 10-7 victory over Amarillo at Hodgetown. He drove in a career-high five runs.
"I called it," Kelenic said. "It sounds arrogant, but I had an idea of what they we're going to do if I got up there. I told the guys that I'm going to get up and ambush the fastball. And once I get it, I'm not going to miss it. And that's what happened."
Trey Wingenter, a reliever who spent most of his season with the Padres, came on in the ninth to protect the Sod Poodles' 7-5 lead. Mike Ahmed hit a leadoff single, but the right-hander recorded two quick outs. Pinch-hitter Nick Zammarelli III kept Arkansas alive by working a walk that brought up Kelenic.
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The top Mariners prospect worked a favorable 2-1 count before drilling a fastball -- just like he predicted -- over the right field fence to tie the game. The only problem? He thought it was a two-run homer and that the Travelers were still trailing by one.
"When I was running around the bases, I didn't know I tied the game," he admitted. "I totally forgot there was a guy on third. When I hit [the homer], I said, 'That's sick, but we're still down one.' I got into the dugout and looked at the scoreboard and said, 'Oh, wait a minute, it's 7-7!'
"Right away, I immediately turned to the guys and said, 'Let's win this thing.'"
The Travelers tacked on three more runs, taking the lead on a two-run double by Mariners No. 10 prospect Kyle Lewis who scored on Jordan Cowan's single. Sam Delaplane struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to seal the victory.
"This has happened a couple times this season," Kelenic said. "I just have a feeling where I know exactly what the other team is going to try to do to me in that at-bat, and I tell people at times before."
"Don't get me wrong, though, there's been a couple times where I've said I'm going to go deep and then I strike out."
Kelenic also started the scoring in the fourth. After Donnie Walton led off the frame with a triple, Kelenic turned on Jesse Scholtens' 1-1 pitch and drove it out to right field for a two-run shot.
The first 14 runs of the game were scored via the long ball, with M's No. 7 prospect Cal Raleigh and Logan Taylor belting solo shots for Arkansas. Amarillo banged out six roundtrippers, with second-ranked Padres prospectTaylor Trammell, No. 10 Owen Miller, No. 11 Hudson Potts, Brad Zunica and Luis Torrens all going deep.
The dingers were the only hits for Kelenic, who bested his previous career high of four RBIs, which he accomplished most recently in his last two-homer game on Aug. 23.
The 2018 first-round pick is winding down a productive first full professional season. He's has been promoted twice, played in the Futures Game and received an invitation to the Arizona Fall League. And he's been a pivotal piece on all three affiliates for which he's played.
Kelenic also will have a shot at the Texas League championship after Arkansas won the first-half North Division title. The Travelers play Tulsa in the opening round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday. After that, he'll head to Arizona.
"I'm excited to compete against the best prospects in baseball," Kelenic said of the AFL. "The Mariners have such a great group. I also can't wait to meet other guys from different teams. That's probably the most fun part."
Katie Woo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.