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'Kings' Austin gets nine straight hits
A day after going 5-for-5, M's prospect scores four times
07/01/2012 8:30 PM ET
Jamal Austin is 20-for-49 (.408) during an 11-game hitting streak.
Jamal Austin is 20-for-49 (.408) during an 11-game hitting streak. (Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)
Making the 200-mile trip from Beloit, Wis., to Burlington, Iowa, Jamal Austin never believed a repeat performance was in the cards.

After all, he went 5-for-5 and notched his second multi-RBI performance of the season Saturday night. But 24 hours later, he was able to show his big game was no fluke.

Austin went 4-for-6 with his second Minor League homer, a career-high four runs scored and three RBIs on Sunday to lead the Class A Clinton LumberKings to a 15-7 win over the Burlington Bees.

Following Saturday's perfect night, the Mariners prospect set a team record with hits in nine consecutive at-bats. He fell one shy of tying the Midwest League record set by Fort Wayne's Rene Lopez from May 27-29, 1993. "I definitely thought I got all my hits out of the way yesterday," the 21-year-old outfielder joked. "But I would say that I am seeing the ball well and that I'm feeling good in the box.

"I've probably not been this hot in a while, maybe since high school. It feels real good, especially since the team is winning."

Selected in the 13th round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Austin plated Nathan Melendres with a single to right field in the first inning Sunday. He beat out an infield single in the second, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on Ramon Morla's single.

In the fourth, Austin laced a two-out homer, his second of the season. And an inning later, he drove in Anthony Phillips with a single before scoring on Morla's second hit of the afternoon.

"I was just kinda surprised and my teammates were laughing," Austin said of his homer. "I got a fastball first pitch, and then the second pitch was a slider in the dirt that I swung at. He threw me another fastball that I swung at and fouled off and then I got another slider inside. The wind might have helped it. I definitely wasn't thinking about a home run."

Austin had a chance to tie Lopez's record with a 10th straight hit, but he reached on an error by shortstop Sean Jamieson in the seventh. He grounded into a fielder's choice in the ninth.

"I've been staying patient at the plate and getting the job done," the Georgia native said. "I've been a leadoff hitter since high school, but now -- hitting in the two-hole -- I have to try and move runners over. If the leadoff hitter gets on, I need to know my role and decide whether I'm bunting or putting the ball on the ground.

"I'm not trying to worry about my average and I'm not pressing. I've been working a lot in the cages with my hitting coach [Tommy Cruz] -- soft toss, working the opposite field and staying patient.

Austin, who rode a nine-game hitting streak into the weekend, raised his average 19 points to a season-high .306.

"Everybody is swinging the bat well and everybody is definitely on a high right now. We're seeing a lot of great at-bats and the ball is definitely flying," he said. "We're not even thinking about losing.

"I'm doing this for my family and for my 4-year-old daughter, Makaley. It's a lot of motivation and it affects me a lot. This is my job and my livelihood. To play well and perform well is helping my family and my daughter."

Mariners No. 18 prospect Guillermo Pimentel went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs and Morla collected three hits and plated three runs. Ji-Man Choi homered, doubled and scored twice to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

The offense was enough to help Mayckol Guaipe (1-0) secure his first win. He allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two batters over five innings.

Burlington starter Raul Alcantara surrendered 10 runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits and two walks over four innings. He fanned three and allowed two home runs. Jamieson was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, missing the cycle by a homer in a losing effort.

Ashley Marshall 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.
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