There wasn't much that Brian O'Grady didn't do Saturday night.The Reds prospect knocked a pair of three-run homers and tied the franchise record with eight RBIs, helping Triple-A Louisville outslug Toledo, 12-9, at Louisville Slugger Field. O'Grady also contributed a two-run single and scored three times.
There wasn't much that Brian O'Grady didn't do Saturday night.
The Reds prospect knocked a pair of three-run homers and tied the franchise record with eight RBIs, helping Triple-A Louisville outslug Toledo, 12-9, at Louisville Slugger Field. O'Grady also contributed a two-run single and scored three times.
With two on in the first inning, the left-handed-hitting O'Grady singled on a 2-2 pitch from right-hander Drew VerHagen to score Josh VanMeter and Christian Colón to give the Bats a 3-1 lead.
The hit was a boost to the Rutgers product's confidence.
"A couple of times recently I've had some chances to drive some runners in with less than two outs and I haven't gotten it done, so that was bothering me," he said. "I got to the two-strike count and I was just trying to put it into play, honestly.
"[VerHagen] came up and in with a fastball and I was just able to get enough of it to get it into the outfield for a kind of blooper. That set the tone for me for the game ... to get that right away feels good."
Gameday box score
Not that he wants too much going on between the ears at the plate -- for O'Grady, clearing his mind and relying on instincts is vital.
"For me, personally, when I start trying to do things, that is when I'm not very good," he said. "I have realized that for a while now. Anytime I am in the box, it's really just me trying to get out of my own head, be confident and trust my eyes and body."
It definitely worked. The 27-year-old came up in an almost identical situation in the second with VanMeter and Colon on base and VerHagen on the mound. With a 2-0 count, he slugged a three-run homer over the right-center field wall to extend the lead to 8-1.
O'Grady admitted he was sitting fastball, but ended up getting a slider from the Toledo hurler.
"It just kind of ran middle [of the plate] and I was able to stay through it," he said. "I was out in front of it a little bit, but I felt when I hit it that I had gotten enough of it, and it went out."
The slugger enjoyed the fast start, but was wanting more.
"Anytime you can start out 2-for-2 like that, that's when I'm getting greedy and want to have a big game and just keep the hits coming," O'Grady said.
After striking out in the third and sixth innings, O'Grady came to the plate with two on in the eighth and the score tied, 9-9. He jumped on the first pitch from Austin Adams and knocked it over the wall in center to provide the winning margin.
It was the first time the first baseman had faced the right-hander, but knew he would see some heat. A quick word of encouragement from Bats manager Jody Davis gave O'Grady some extra fuel.
"First and second there, I was walking to the plate and Jody, my manager, just said, 'Let it fly,'" O'Grady said. "I was just looking to be on time and get a fastball -- and that's what he threw me -- and I just put a good swing on it."
It was the sixth time this season that O'Grady has posted a multi-homer game, with the highlight coming May 19 against Buffalo, when he hit three solo shots. He tied the Bats' single-game RBI record set by VanMeter, who collected a grand slam, a three-run shot and a solo homer against Toledo on April 29.
Was there any ribbing of his teammate that the record had been tied so quickly?
"[VanMeter] just said to me in the locker room, 'You had eight RBIs tonight?' and I was like, 'Yeah,'" O'Grady said. "Our media guy, he just said that I had tied a franchise record but I didn't realize it was VanMeter, so it was pretty funny. The eight RBIs are definitely a personal record for me."
For the 2017 seventh-round pick, though, it wasn't the record that was most meaningful.
"Hitting the second homer to drive in the game-winner, that means a lot to me, especially after giving up the lead like we did," O'Grady said. "To come right back and win the game for us, as a team, that's definitely a big thing."
The Pennsylvania native raised his average to .295 and moved into a second-place tie in the International League with 24 homers, trailing leader Adam Duvall (27) of Gwinnett. He leads the circuit with 187 total bases and ranks third with 63 RBIs.
VanMeter finished with three hits, including a triple, three runs scored and an RBI.
Tigers No. 28 prospectDustin Peterson doubled, drove in a run and scored twice on a three-hit night for the Mud Hens.
Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.