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07/03/2008 10:07 PM ET
Mollenhauer keeps it simple for cycle
White Sox farmhand singles in final at-bat, drives in four in Kannapolis win
Dale Mollenhauer has wielded a hot bat of late, collecting 28 hits in his last 53 at-bats. (Ray Marsden)

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Needing only a single for the cycle, Dale Mollenhauer got a bit of simple advice before his final plate appearance Thursday.

"I didn't start thinking about it until some of the guys started saying stuff, and then it was on my mind," Mollenhauer said. "Juan Moreno was coaching first base, and the only English I think he could say was, 'Home run? No. Triple? No. Double? No. Single? Yes!'"

Moreno, a pitcher on the Kannapolis disabled list, was the first teammate to greet Mollenhauer after the second baseman singled to left field to complete the cycle in the eighth inning.

"It feels good," he said, "and it was good to have Moreno there."

Mollenhauer went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs for his first career cycle as the Kannapolis Intimidators beat the visiting Lake County Captains, 10-4.

The 22-year-old ran himself into a triple in the first when was thrown out at the plate. He slugged a two-run homer in the fifth, lined a two-RBI double in the sixth and singled to left field in the eighth in his fifth at-bat.

It was the first cycle in the Minor Leagues since Stockton's Archie Gilbert completed one June 19.

"I can't really say I was dying to get a hit [in the eighth]," Mollenhauer said. "I wouldn't have killed myself to get one, but it was good to get it."

The White Sox's 17th-round pick last year, he has collected 28 hits in his last 53 at-bats.

"I'm just really comfortable, I'm seeing the ball well," said Mollenhauer, who hit .372 in June. "I'm taking good swings on pitches, and that's really all it is."

The East Carolina product's triple set up his memorable day.

"The shortstop was deep on the relay and I thought he was throwing from a bad spot, so I thought I could make it," said Mollenhauer, who has five triples this season. "As it turned out, I didn't get it. But we were lucky to score three runs in the inning, so that kind of erased it."

He bounced into a double play in the second, but made up for it with a line drive homer to right in the fifth.

"It was an 0-2 count and he threw me two low sliders, but the third slider was just up, I could get to it," Mollenhauer said. "I was sort of expecting it, but I wasn't expecting it up there."

He plated Jim Gallagher and Nick Mahin with a double to right and came around to score on Sergio Miranda's single in the sixth.

"I just try to stay up the middle with everything," Mollenhauer said. "I just trying to get up the middle with everything, take it away if it's outside, just go with it."

Mark Fleisher also amassed four hits and Miranda went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help fuel the Intimidators' 15-hit attack.

Batting .435 in 13 games since the All-Star break, Mollenhauer has been raking the past two weeks. He went 5-for-5 with five RBIs on June 24, collected four hits on June 26, had his fourth-straight multi-hit game June 29 and went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on Tuesday. He's driven in 15 runs and scored 13 times in his last 11 games.

"Last year, it took some getting used to, and this year it's been the same thing," he said. "Once I found a groove, a way about going about it ... it's all about comfort and I'm getting more comfortable. It's all starting to go right for me now."

Mollenhauer made his professional debut last season with the Rookie-level Great Falls White Sox and batted .276 in 69 games. He raised his '08 average to .306 with four hits Thursday and says he's feeling at ease in the South Atlantic League.

Former fourth-round pick Lucas Harrell (1-1) allowed three runs on six hits over five innings for the win for Kannapolis (10-5).

South Atlantic League All-Star Ryan Miller (7-3) was reached for five runs on eight hits over five innings to suffer the loss for Lake County (7-8).

Danny Wild is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.