Walton racks up seven hits in Travs' twinbill

M's No. 29 prospect sparks sweep with homer, four runs scored

Donnie Walton ranks seventh in the Texas League with a .381 on-base percentage. (Mark Wagner/Arkansas Travelers)

By Brian Stultz / MiLB.com | June 8, 2019 12:33 AM

Donnie Walton made himself at home on the bases on Friday.

The Mariners' No. 29 prospect collected seven hits, including a homer, and scored four times as Double-A Arkansas swept a doubleheader from Tulsa at ONEOK Field. The Travelers rolled to a 10-1 victory in the opener, then outlasted the Drillers, 8-5, in extra innings in the nightcap. 

Video: Travelers' Walton singles for fourth hit

Walton started his big night with a single down the right-field line on the first pitch of Game 1. Another single, this time to left-center, followed in the third before he scored on a base hit by seventh-ranked Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis.

In the fourth, the left-handed hitter smacked a 1-0 pitch from left-handed reliever Michael Boyle over the right-field wall for a two-run homer. Walton ended his perfect game at the plate by drawing a four-pitch walk in the sixth.

The 25-year-old infielder got the nightcap started with a single to left-center and followed with a base hit to right-center in the second, crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by No. 15 prospect Dom Thompson-Williams. After popping out to catcher Josh Thole in the fifth, Walton singled to center in the seventh. He sent another single up the middle in the ninth, scoring on a base hit by Lewis to give the Travelers a 6-4 lead.

Gameday box score: Game 1 | Game 2

"That's probably the most I have got in one day," Walton said. "Every time you are on base it is a good feeling."

Walton batted leadoff in both games, a spot in the lineup with which he doesn't have much experience he said. But the Oklahoma State product knows the responsibility that comes with the role. 

"I was in the two-hole a lot in college and in the Minor Leagues," he said. "I have been [batting] one or two, so I'm a little bit familiar with it. It's a lot of fun. My job is to get on base and let those big hitters get me in, so whatever I can do to put a quality at-bat together each time is my job."

The seven-hit effort brought Walton's batting average up 25 points to .283. In 53 games, he has a career-high seven homers, six doubles, 24 RBIs, 27 walks, seven stolen bases and 35 runs scored.

The power surge, he said, is a product of a combination of factors.

"I think it goes both ways," Walton added. "The experience I had last year at Double-A definitely helped and years past playing the game. I have never been a home run-hitting guy, but I feel like I have the strength and the organization feels like I have the strength to produce more power and more numbers. It's just something that I work with my dad on. Just making a couple of adjustments with the swing with the hitting coordinators here kind of sticking with the same approach I have."

Evan White -- MLB.com's No. 88 overall prospect -- finished with five hits, including a homer, four runs scored and three RBIs for the Travelers. He recorded his fourth career four-hit game and first the season in the nightcap.

"I've played with him now for two years and he still surprises me by how hard he hits the ball," Walton said. "I think one he hit today was at 114 mph."

2019 MiLB include

The Texas native had even more praise for the 2017 first-round pick.

"He's definitely a guy that goes about it the right way and is an overall good teammate," Walton said. "I love putting on the same uniform as him. It's fun watching him play."

Lewis collected four hits and drove in three runs, while Nick Zammarelli III homered and collected three RBIs and three runs scored across the twinbill.

In the opener, right-hander Nabil Crismatt (2-4) threw his third career complete game, allowing a run on six hits while striking out five for the win. Dan Altavilla (3-0) gave up one run on one hit over two innings in the nightcap. 

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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