Rutschman homers twice, drives in seven

July 22nd, 2021

Slide to the left. Slide to the right. Two homers this time.

In what was a career night for the No. 2 ranked prospect in all of baseball, Adley Rutschman flexed his power in emphatic fashion -- he hit one home run from the right side of the plate and another from the left side. It's the first multihomer game of his career, and he drove in a career-high seven runs in Bowie's 20-7 rout of Hartford in front of the home crowd at Prince George's Stadium.

"I've been working on my swing and my approach at the plate, and I was just able to get good pitches to hit and put good swings on those pitches to be able to drive them. It was nice to capitalize on that tonight," Rutschman said. "It was a fun time. Our team as a whole did really well."

Rutschman started his night with a groundout, but things would soon turn around for the 23-year-old when he doubled in a run in the bottom of the second -- it could have been a two-RBI double if not for a sparkling relay from Yard Goats center fielder Matt Hearn to Coco Montes to Willie MacIver to nab a runner at the plate.

After grounding out again in the fourth, Rutschman turned on the power from the left side of the plate in the fifth with a towering two-run, 405-foot homer on the first pitch he saw. When he switched to the right side in his next at-bat in the seventh, it was deja-vu when he slammed a 1-2 pitch far over the left-field wall to drive in three runs and stretch Bowie's lead to 15-5.

As if a career-high six RBIs wasn't enough, he added another in the eighth when opposing pitcher Yoan Ayber didn't dare give him another pitch to crush. Rutschman drew a bases-loaded walk on five pitches, stretching his new career high to seven RBIs and the Bowie lead to 17-6.

"It was nice to really be able to work counts and take good pitches. It was a fun time," Rutschman said. "Our team really supports each other and we're always happy when other guys succeed. The energy's usually good in the dugout, but even better when we're performing."

In his second Minor League season, the 2019 first overall pick is proving to be everything the Orioles thought they would be getting and more. Rutschman has drawn as many walks (46) as he has strikeouts, and he's batting .275 with a .904 OPS and 14 homers, 12 doubles and 44 runs batted in through 64 games for Double-A Bowie. He's hit a bit of a slump in July, tallying just seven hits in 15 games before Wednesday. But if his career performance is any indication, it's safe to say that he's ready to put that skid behind him.

"Baseball's going to have ups and downs. I'm just trying to make sure I'm seeing the ball and swinging at good pitches, and when I get good pitches to hit, I'm capitalizing on those," Rutschman said. "I don't think I've been doing that the past couple weeks or so, but it's definitely nice to have a night like tonight."