Collins' two-run homer is game-winner for Glendale

White Sox No. 2 prospect hits go-ahead shot in 4-3 victory

Collins' two-run homer is game-winner for Glendale

GLENDALE -- White Sox No. 2 prospect and No. 80 overall Zack Collins stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning on Saturday against Angels prospect Eduardo Paredes with his Glendale Desert Dogs trailing the Scottsdale Scorpions by a run. The batter before him, Cardinals' No. 15 prospect Paul DeJong, had walked.

"The guy was leaving everything up and arm side to the hitter before me, then I got up there and he did the same thing to me," Collins said. "I was fouling balls back, getting under them a little bit."

With no outs and a full count, Collins sent the next pitch flying over the right-center-field wall. The Desert Dogs took the lead, 4-3, that would be how the game ended.

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"It was 3-2 and [Desert Dogs manager Aaron] Rowand put on the steal sign, so I just told myself to get on top of it," the 6-foot-3 catcher said. "[DeJong's] going so there's gonna be holes open in the infield. I tried to get on top of it and that's what happened."

The two-run shot looked eerily similar to Collins' first home run in the Arizona Fall League on Nov. 1, also against the Scorpions. That long ball, a three-run homer to left-center field, also came in the bottom of the sixth inning and tied the game before the Desert Dogs hit a walk-off single three innings later.

"I guess I should just pinch-hit in the sixth inning," Collins joked. "But it felt good, it's always good to get a win out here."

Collins on improving his skills

The 21-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Florida, was the No. 10 overall Draft pick in 2016, selected by the Chicago White Sox out of the University of Miami. After being drafted, he started the season out in the Arizona Rookie League but was quickly moved up to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

With the Dash, Collins batted .258 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 36 games. Through nine games in the Arizona Fall League, he is batting .227 with two home runs and five RBIs .

For the Desert Dogs, the win was especially important. They were 1 1/2 games behind the Peoria Javelinas and the Surprise Saguaros entering Saturday's games, as the Javelinas and Saguaros were tied for first place in the West Division. After Saturday, each team has four games left to decide who gets a shot in the championship game on Nov. 19 in Scottsdale.

"Now every win is definitely big for us because we got off to a slow start, and obviously we're trying to get to the championship," Collins said. "I think we were 1 1/2 games back now. I don't know about after this win, but there's just a couple games left so we just gotta win out."

The Saguaros recorded a win on Saturday against the Mesa Solar Sox to keep the Desert Dogs in third place for the time being.

Trisha Garcia is a sports journalism graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @trishaanicole. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.