The Northern Division squad was in control from start to finish in Monday’s Southern League all-star game in Zebulon, N.C., home of the Carolina Mudcats. Led by a solid pitching performance and home runs by Carolina second baseman Chris Coghlan (Marlins) and Tennessee right fielder Doug Deeds (Cubs), the Northerners cruised to a 6-1 victory.
Coghlan, arguably the top second-base prospect in the minors, broke the 2-1 game open in the fifth inning by cranking a three-run home run to right field. The one-two punch of Huntsville batters—center fielder Michael Brantley and shortstop Alcides Escobar—hit back-to-back singles, setting the stage for Coghlan’s blast.
The 23-year-old Coghlan, the Marlins’ supplemental first-round pick from Mississippi in 2006, garnered Star of Stars honors for going 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. He was one of three Mudcats starting the game in front of the hometown crowd. John Raynor led off and played center field, while first baseman Gaby Sanchez batted sixth.
Raynor, a righthanded batter, led off the bottom of the first inning with a double down the right-field line. The next batter, Escobar, drove him home with a single.
Eight Northern Division pitchers combined for a five-hit shutout. Chattanooga lefthander Ben Jukich (Reds) threw a perfect first inning and was credited with the win. Jacksonville righthander James McDonald (Dodgers), pitching for the Southern Division, struck out two, walked one and gave up a hit in the fourth inning.
The lone Southern Division run scored on Mobile second baseman’s Mark Ryal (Diamondbacks) sacrifice fly, which plated shortstop and BayBears’ teammate Yunesky Sanchez.