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Solid Hultzen earns second pro win04/24/2012 4:01 PM ET
By John Parker / Special to MLB.com
Danny Hultzen's fourth professional start was just as sharp as the previous two, as the left-hander cruised to his second victory in Jackson's 8-1 win at Huntsville on Tuesday afternoon.
After a rough debut on April 8, MLB.com's No. 16 prospect has allowed just two unearned runs on five hits over 17 2/3 innings. On Tuesday Hultzen limited the Stars -- the top-hitting team in the Double-A Southern League -- to a pair of singles and three walks while fanning five in 5 2/3 scoreless frames. The second overall selection in the 2011 Draft has held opposing hitters to a .122 average.
Following a one-two-three first inning, Hultzen issued a leadoff walk to Stars designated hitter Khris Davis in the second. First baseman Hunter Morris grounded a single to right field, giving Huntsville two men on with no one out.
An attempt by the Stars to play small ball backfired as Anderson De La Rosa popped out to the catcher while trying to bunt the runners over. Juan Sanchez and Lee Haydel both popped out to Jackson shortstop Nick Franklin to end the threat. Huntsville would not have another runner reach second base until the seventh inning.
Jackson scored twice in the third on a single by Francisco Martinez and doubles from Franklin and first baseman Rich Poythress. Poythress' run-scoring two-bagger gave him a team-leading 13 RBIs in 19 games.
Hultzen walked Davis again in the fourth and allowed a two-out single to Matt Cline in the fifth before issuing a leadoff walk to Domnit Bolivar in the sixth. After fanning reigning Southern League Player of the Week Scooter Gennett, the 22-year-old University of Virginia product got Davis to fly out before giving way to reliever Moises Hernandez.
Hultzen improved to 2-2 with the win and threw 97 pitches -- 57 for strikes.
The Generals tacked on runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh before Huntsville got on the board with a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.
Martinez and Franklin, the top two hitters in the Jackson batting order, led the Generals' attack. Martinez went 3-for-3 with three walks, an RBI and three runs scored while Franklin -- the No. 61 prospect -- doubled twice, singled and drove in three runs. Left fielder Chris Pettit was 3-for-4 with one of Jackson's season-high six doubles.
Huntsville's Josh Stinson, who made 14 relief appearances with the Mets last season, fell to 3-1 in his first start of the 2012 campaign. He allowed three runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out three in 4 2/3 innings.
Jackson won three of the five games in the series to open up a three-game lead over the Stars in the Southern League's North Division. The Generals head home for a five-game set against Tennessee starting Wednesday.