BRADENTON -- By his own admission, Kirk Singer is kind of gangly.
He's also the Bradenton Marauders' No. 2 hitter.
So imagine Singer's surprise when the Charlotte Stone Crabs chose to intentionally walk him Thursday to load the bases with two outs in the fourth inning and the Marauders down by a run.
"I can't really tell you the last time that happened," Singer said.
The move backfired thanks to Mel Rojas Jr., who followed with a grand slam to lead the Marauders to a 10-3 win during the first game of the Florida State League season's second half.
But the gesture served as a testament to what Singer has done during his brief time
in Bradenton. The infielder went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs Thursday, making him 7-for-15 (.467) with seven RBIs since he was promoted earlier this month from the Pittsburgh Pirates' low Single-A team in West Virginia.
"I feel like the whole offense is feeding off him," said Marauders first baseman Alex Dickerson, who had two hits and scored two runs Thursday. "At the moment, he's been the biggest piece of the puzzle for us this year."
Consider it a return to form for Singer, who hit over .300 during his first two seasons at Long Beach State before plummeting to .215 as a junior in 2011.
"I just tanked," Singer said. "There wasn't one thing I was doing right for about a whole year."
That didn't discourage the Pirates from making Singer a 29th-round draft pick in 2011 and sending him to their New York-Penn League team in State College, Pa., where Singer began working with the organization's hitting coordinators.
Together they embarked on what Singer called "a year of adjustments," which included alterations to his swing and game that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Rather than work on his stance or how high he holds his hands, Singer and the coaches worked on how to better approach each at bat.
Don't try to do too much.
Hit the ball the other way.
Go with the pitch.
"I finally bought into it, and I have more confidence now," Singer said. "What the two hole does for me is it lets me be the guy that I am. I don't have to hit a home run. I ran into one the other day, but I'm not trying to do that."
All three of Singer's hits Thursday were textbook line drives up the middle, which is what every hitter is taught to do.
"I've shortened up my mechanics, I've shortened up everything," said Singer, who hit .262 in 53 games with West Virginia this season. "I was out of whack last year."
His early success this season is of no surprise to Dickerson, who was Singer's teammate last season at State College and watched him collect one clutch hit after another.
"Every time there's runners on, he's getting his hits," Dickerson said. "You can tell he has all the tools to move all the way up."
The summer is still early, and Singer is quick to point out he has yet to play a full professional season. But he's enjoying his success thus far and aware of the peaks and valleys that are sure to come.
"Right now, it's good. This baseball -- (today), I could go 0-for-4, so you never know," Singer said. "You've got to take your highs and lows and try to stay consistent. ... You kind of just try to throw everything at the wall, and whatever sticks you kind of run with it."