Joey Bart is living up to the hype of a first-round pick without being fazed by expectations.
The No. 2 overall pick in last month’s Major League Baseball draft hit a two-run double to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning and lead Salem-Keizer past Eugene 6-2 Tuesday night in front of 2,442 at PK Park.
Bart went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .326 while driving in his 17th and 18th runs in 11 games in the Northwest League. He ranks second in the league with seven home runs.
“Just having fun,” Bart said. “I truly play the game because it is a blast to come out here. I feel like you have a lot more success when you don’t put too much pressure on yourself and keep it simple.”
Bart was drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of Georgia Tech to eventually become the replacement at catcher for Buster Posey. He received a signing bonus of $7.025 million that ranks as the highest ever for a position player.
Salem-Keizer (16-16) loaded the bases in the eighth inning when Nick Giarratano walked and Jose Layer singled before Diego Rincones was hit in the head by a pitch from reliever Yan De La Cruz. With one out, Bart drilled a double to the wall in center field that scored two runs.
“Early in the at-bat I was looking for a breaking ball and he threw me a fastball right down the middle, so that was a bad guess there,” Bart said. “I told Rincones I’d pick him up and I was trying to find something to put in the air and get a run in to take the lead. Luckily, I saw it up a little bit and put a good swing on it.”
David Villar followed with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Dalton Combs to put the Volcanoes ahead 4-1.
Aaron Bond hit a grounder to third baseman Luke Reynolds, who made a throwing error that allowed Bart to score. Bond stole second before scoring on a single by Wander Franco to stretch the lead to 6-1.
Reynolds doubled in the bottom of the ninth and scored on a wild pitch before Fernando Kelli struck out to end the game.
Reynolds and Gustavo Polanco each had two of the seven hits for Eugene, which fell to 11-21.
Salem-Keizer loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning off Eugene starter Derek Casey before scoring one run.
Bart singled and Villar followed with a single before Bond walked. Franco grounded into a double play that scored Bart before Mikey Edie struck out to end the inning.
Casey, a ninth-round pick of the Cubs out of Virginia, allowed two hits and one earned run with one strikeout in two innings.
Salem-Keizer starter Sean Hjelle, a 6-foot-11 second-round pick out of Kentucky, threw two scoreless innings before Eugene tied the score with a run off reliever Alex DuBord.
Polanco led off the third inning with a single and advanced to second on a fly out by Kelli. Jonathan Sierra hit a two-out single that scored Polanco.
NOTE: Eugene will start Riley Thompson (0-1, 4.50 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday while Salem-Keizer counters with Gregory Santos (2-2, 3.41).