Kjerstad plays hero at Triple-A with walk-off slam

May 19th, 2024

slapped an exclamation point on his return to Triple-A.

MLB’s No. 22 prospect clubbed a home run off the first pitch he saw Wednesday and ended his week with an even bigger added roundtripper. Kjerstad -- who had 10 homers in the International League prior to his promotion -- swatted a walk-off grand slam Sunday against the IronPigs.

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In the bottom of the 12th inning, Kjerstad stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded and two outs. And just like on his first homer back at Triple-A, the 25-year-old only needed one pitch. The lefty rocketed a 409-foot, 106.7 mph shot off a high changeup by Phillies right-hander Nick Nelson to right-center field, securing a 5-3 win for the Tides at Harbor Park.

Over the past week, the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect amassed 24 at-bats -- six Sunday -- in six games for Norfolk. The Arkansas product had hits in four of them, while three of his knocks went for extra bases.

Baltimore optioned Kjerstad to Norfolk on Monday following a short stay with sparse playing time in the Major Leagues. The 2020 second overall pick made 17 plate appearances in seven games, collecting a pair of singles, two walks and striking out six times.

On the season at Triple-A, Kjerstad has posted a slash line of .318/.395/.701 with 12 home runs -- second-most in the International League behind teammate Coby Mayo (BAL No. 3) and the Mets’ Trayce Thompson, who both have 13.