AA Dish: Fernando On Fire

Fernando Martinez had his first big night of the 2008 season, Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata each collected a pair of hits for Trenton, Chuck Lofgren had his second bad outing of the year and Chris Volstad outdueled Jake McGee in a battle of elite pitching prospects in yesterday’s Double-A action.

Eastern League

Binghamton (Mets) 6, Akron (Indians) 3
Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez started the year off a bit slowly, but for a 19-year-old in Double-A, the raw performance record won’t tell you much about his future. His youth made his performance even more impressive last night, particularly against lefthander Chuck Lofgren, the No. 2 prospect in the Indians organization. Martinez went 2-for-4, including a double off Lofgren and a home run in the seventh inning off righty Sung-Wei Tseng. First baseman Mike Carp also had a nice night, finishing 3-for-4 with his third home run of the season.

Lofgren, meanwhile, struggled for his second consecutive start. The 22-year-old allowed four runs on six hits in six innings, finishing with two walks and three strikeouts.

Altoona (Pirates) 4, Trenton (Yankees) 3
Trenton’s Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata form perhaps the most prospect-laden outfield in Double-A this season. Last night Jackson went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two strikeouts, while Tabata went 2-for-4 with a walk in a losing effort.

Bowie (Orioles) 3, Reading (Phillies) 2
A pair of intriguing pitching prospects matched up last night in Bowie, and both performed well. Reading lefty Josh Outman had eight strikeouts in six innings and allowed two runs (one earned), finishing with three walks and seven hits allowed. Bowie righthander Chorye Spoone allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking three. Bowie righthander Kam Mickolio, acquired from the Mariners in the off-season, tossed two scoreless innings.

New Britain (Twins) 4, New Hampshire (Blue Jays) 3

New Britain lefthander Ryan Mullins held New Hampshire to two runs (one earned) in six innings, finishing with five strikeouts and one walk. New Britain shortstop Trevor Plouffe went 1-for-4 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored.

Harrisburg (Nationals) 2, Eerie (Tigers) 1 in 10 innings
Despite being used regularly as the No. 9 hitter in Harrisburg’s lineup, shortstop Ian Desmond has been one of the best players in the Eastern League so far this season. Desmond continued his success last night, going 2-for-4 with a double in Harrisburg’s extra-inning victory. Harrisburg center fielder Justin Maxwell went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.

Portland (Red Sox) 1, Connecticut (Giants) 0

The Giants offense is struggling to score runs at the big league level, and the same is true on the farm. Portland left Daniel Haigwood shut out the Giants through four innings last night, finishing with two hits allowed, no walks and seven strikeouts. It was the only two hits that Connecticut mustered all night, but Portland’s offense had struggled equally, also knocking out just two hits all night.

Southern League

Carolina (Marlins) 7, Montgomery (Rays) 1

It was a matchup of two highly touted pitching prospects, with Marlins righthander Chris Volstad coming out on top and Rays lefty Jake McGee struggling with his control all night. (BA Subscribers can read more about the Volstad-McGee matchup.) Volstad kept the ball on the ground all night (14 groundouts, three flyouts) and allowed just one run in six innings. McGee lasted only two innings, walking four and giving up two runs, though only one was earned. Carolina second baseman Chris Coghlan had a nice night, going 3-for-4 with his third stolen base of the year. He also made a nice defensive play diving to his left.

Jacksonville (Dodgers) 4, Tennessee (Cubs) 1
Jacksonville righthander James McDonald allowed one hit in four shutout innings, striking out four and walking two. Jacksonville shortstop Ivan DeJesus went 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base. For Tennessee, center fielder Tyler Colvin went 0-for-2, but he also drew two walks, something he rarely did last season.

West Tenn (Mariners) 9, Huntsville (Brewers) 6
Huntsville became the only team so far to slow down the bats of third baseman Mat Gamel and right fielder Matt LaPorta. Gamel went 1-for-5 and LaPorta went 0-for-4 with a walk, while shortstop Alcides Escobar also struggled to an 0-for-5 night, although he did drive in two runs. West Tenn outfielder Mike Saunders went 1-for-4 with a double out of the leadoff spot, and righthander Brandon Morrow allowed one unearned run and struck out a batter in a scoreless inning of relief.

Mobile (Diamondbacks) 10, Mississippi (Braves) 1
The BayBears put plenty of runs on the board and got a strong outing from righthander Brooks Brown, a supplemental first-rounder out of Georgia in 2006. Brown struck out four and walked one in four innings, allowing one run on five hits.

Birmingham (White Sox) 4, Chattanooga (Reds) 0

Birmingham lefthander Clayton Richard shut down the Lookouts for six innings. The 24-year-old finished with six strikeouts and no walks.

Texas League
There were no Texas League games yesterday.