Dunedin's Smith homers on breakout night

Blue Jays No. 18 prospect collects four hits, drives in three runs

Kevin Smith also collected four hits for Class A Lansing on May 8 at Wisconsin. (Miguel Arcaute/Lansing Lugnuts)

By Marisa Ingemi / MiLB.com | June 7, 2018 11:43 PM

Ten days into his Florida State League tenure, and Kevin Smith has found his stroke.

The 18th-ranked Blue Jays prospect collected four hits, including his first FSL homer, as Class A Advanced Dunedin rolled to a 9-3 victory over Charlotte on Thursday at Charlotte Sports Park.

Gameday box score

"I'm just trying to stay consistent with what I do with my approach," Smith said. "I haven't had things fall lately, but I'm just trying to stay with it. I want to keep a rhythm going and try not to do too much."

After going 4-for-25 in his first six games with Dunedin, Smith matched that hit total against the Stone Crabs.

"I think as a team we want to keep winning, we have the second half coming up and we want to be on the same page," he said. "It's about feeling good going into the All-Star break and get going. Hopefully, I can keep it rolling in the second half and hopefully, we can win some more games."

The University of Maryland product began his big night by getting hit by a pitch in the first inning. He was erased on a double play but reached on an infield hit leading off the third and came around to score on an error by second baseman Tristan Gray. An inning later, Smith grounded a single to left field, this time on a hanging slider from reliever J.D. Busfield.

"I try to keep my confidence up, no matter what happens," he said. "This looks good on the stat line and the scoreboard, but I just want to barrel balls night in and night out. If I stick with my approach, I know the stats will come."

The 21-year-old slashed another base hit to right in the sixth before capping his second four-hit game of the season with a blast to left-center field that cleared the fence and scored John La Prise and Joshua Palacios.

Smith made his Florida State League debut on May 29 after hitting .355/.407/.639 with seven homers and 44 RBIs in 46 games with Class A Lansing. 

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"I'm just trying to stay consistent with the bat and I'm not trying to change too much," he said. "I just want to stick with what got me here. You have to refine it every now and then, and I'm facing better pitching now, so you have to make little adjustments here and there, but for the most part you just try to stay the same."

While Smith has tried to stick with what worked for him in Lansing, it's off the field where he's had to make the most adjustments.

"It's hot," he said. "There's a lot of better players here, too, and you have to be consistent facing really good pitchers night in and night out. It's a step up, everything's a bit faster, there's a pitch clock and the game kind of speeds up a little bit. And being in the heat, you have to do your best to relax and just slow it down as much as you can."

Nash Knight went 3-for-4 with four RBIs for the D-Jays, while Blue Jays No. 16 prospect Riley Adams picked up two hits and Kacy Clemens scored twice.

Patrick Murphy (4-4) gave up three hits over six innings in his second straight scoreless start for Dunedin. He struck out three and walked one.

Tristan Gray had two hits, including a solo homer, for the Stone Crabs.

Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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