Austin drives in five as Thunder rolls

Yankees prospect helps Trenton complete four-game sweep

By John Parker / | April 14, 2013 1:25 PM ET

Everyone on the Trenton Thunder got into the act on Sunday afternoon, but right fielder Tyler Austin was the leading man.

The Yankees' No. 3 prospect had three of Trenton's 16 hits and drove in five runs as the Thunder crushed visiting Richmond, 15-1, to complete their first four-game series sweep since July 2010.

Austin was mired in a 2-for-20 slump that spanned five games but busted out in a big way. He had a chance to tie the team record for RBIs in a game in the eighth inning but struck out with a runner at first base.

"It felt really good to break out today," Austin said. "I'm still settling in at the plate, but it's gratifying to see the work pay off."

The 21-year-old right fielder had plenty of help. Shortstop Walter Ibarra went 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs scored out of the ninth spot in the lineup, while leadoff man Ramon Flores doubled, singled, walked twice, drove in four runs and scored three times. Like Austin, catcher J.R. Murphy collected three hits, chipping in four RBIs.

"Coming up with guys on, you get better pitches to see, and that filters down to the guys behind you," Austin said. "We've got an unbelievable team. Everybody is really working their tails off to improve themselves and help the team."

Trenton put the game out of reach early, scoring once in the first inning, five times in the second and tacking on three runs in the third. The Flying Squirrels scored their lone run in the fourth as Mark Minicozzi hit a leadoff double off starter Caleb Cotham, moved up on a base hit by Ricky Oropesa and came home when Javier Herrera bounced into a fielder's choice.

Richmond's Joe Panik, the Giants' No. 4 prospect, went 0-for-5 and was 3-for-17 in the four-game series.

After Cotham yielded a run on four hits over four innings, Sheaffer Hall (2-0) pitched a scoreless fifth for the win.

Richmond starter Craig Westcott (0-1), who had given up just one run over nine innings in his first two outings of the season, was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings.

The defeat was the most lopsided in the Flying Squirrels' brief history and extended their losing streak to a team-record six games.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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