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LaPorta slams Braves in Double-A debut04/04/2008 12:27 AM ET
By Steve Conley
Matt LaPorta wasted no time making a splash in his Double-A debut Thursday, drilling a grand slam that powered the Huntsville Stars to an 8-2 victory over the Mississippi Braves.
LaPorta singled in the third inning, then broke the game open by capping a five-run fourth. The 23-year-old outfielder made his professional debut last season with Rookie-level Helena, where he hit .259 in seven games. He dominated after a promotion to Class A West Virginia, batting .318 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in only 23 games.
Selected seventh overall by the Brewers in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, LaPorta went 6-for-17 with a pair of doubles as a non-roster invitee at Spring Training.
Mat Gamel and Michael Brantley each added two hits and scored twice, while Carlos Corporan slugged a solo homer for the Stars.
Huntsville starter Steve Hammond (1-0) allowed an unearned run on two hits while striking out nine over six innings. Robert Hinton finished up for the save, yielding a run on one hit and a walk in three frames.
Braves starter Dan Smith (1-0) surrendered five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings.
Pinch-hitter Greg Creek ripped an RBI triple in the seventh for Mississippi (0-1).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.