Chukars' Dungan posts six-hit performance

Royals' ninth-rounder collects two doubles, two RBIs, two runs

Through five games. half of Clay Dungan's 12 hits -- five doubles and a triple -- have been for extra bases. (

By Duane Cross / | June 23, 2019 10:06 PM

Clay Dungan entered Sunday with six hits in his brief Minor League career. He'll go to sleep with a dozen.

The Royals' ninth-round pick in this month's Draft went 6-for-6 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs as Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls ran roughshod over Billings, 18-6, at Melaleuca Field.

Gameday box score

Through five games, the Indiana State product has gone 12-for-22 (.545) with at least one hit in each game, including three multi-hit efforts.

In the first inning, he doubled to right field off right-hander Justin McGregor and scored two batters later on a double by Brady McConnell during the Chukars' four-run outburst. Dungan singled to left in the second, but was erased on a forceout.

"I was looking middle-in," he said of the first-inning double. "I'm more of an up-and-down hitter; in and out doesn't matter. He got the ball up and I was able to get the barrel to it."

The 23-year-old shortstop added an RBI single to right in the fourth, plating Tyler James, to push the lead to 7-3, then scored on McConnell's second two-bagger as the Chukars went up 10-3.

After getting three hits off McGregor, Dungan knew there was a lot of baseball left to play -- and more arms to come.

"It's always a long game," he said. "They can bring in a pitcher, one you're not seeing ball very well against, but you just have to have the same approach.

"It's always fun to play these type games. You just want to get back from playing defense and swing the bat. I'm seeing the ball well and my timing was good. It was a lot of fun today."

2019 MiLB include

Facing right-handed reliever Alberto Gonzalez in the fifth, Dungan lined a single to right, but was left stranded. In the seventh, he doubled to center off righty Jeffry Nino and again was left on base.

He had faced Nino on Friday, reaching on a fielder's choice in the 10th inning of the Chukars' 4-3 win. On Sunday, he knew what to expect.

"He throws with a little bit of a sidearm," Dungan said. "I just scooted off the plate a little bit and got something up in the zone and was able to drive the ball."

With a 14-5 lead, Idaho Falls sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the eighth and scored four times off Valentin Martinez, a catcher relegated to mop-up duty. Dungan knocked in Ismaldo Rodriguez with a single to right to cap the six-hit performance.

"You have to adjust to the speed," he said of facing a position player. "They're not going to be throwing 90-plus, so you have to tell yourself to stay back."

Dungan said he received a couple of texts after the game and admitted, "I can't remember another six-hit game. I may have been 5-for-5 in high school or something, but never six hits."

James delivered four hits, four runs and two RBIs while  Jose Marquez added four hits, three RBIs and two runs. Rodriguez homered and singled, plating five and scoring twice.

Stephen Ridings (1-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Alec Marsh. Ridings yielded three runs on three hits and four walks in three innings. He struck out six.

Quin Cotton had three hits for Billings, while Reniel Ozuna was 3-for-4 with a two-run dinger, a double and four RBIs.

McGregor (0-1) allowed 10 runs -- eight earned -- on 10 hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out two.

It marked the second year in a row a Chukars player posted a 6-for-6 game. Kyle Kasser accomplished the feat last Aug. 1 against Orem with six singles, four RBIs and four runs scored in a 20-5 win.

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

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