What had been an uneventful start to the season for Charlie Madden perked up considerably Monday during the backstop's sixth game of 2018.
The Boston catching prospect went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored as Class A Greenville edged Lexington, 13-12, at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The five hits and four RBIs represented career highs for Madden, who was playing in his 25th game as a professional since being taken in the 24th round of last year's Draft.
Video: Greenville's Madden knocks fifth hit of the night
"I had been banged up a little, so just being out there healthy and playing was great," Madden said. "But to be honest, it was just another game for me. I was getting good pitches to hit, and thankfully, I had a bunch of guys on base in front of me to drive in. It was a good night and a fun one too."
Zach Sterry also loomed large in the box score. He went 4-for-6 and drove in four runs while falling a homer shy of the cycle for the Drive, who entered the eighth inning with an 11-7 lead.
Madden got things going for Greenville in the top of the third inning when he stroked a ground-rule to double to right field and scored on Sterry's double to left. The 22-year-old helped even the score, 2-2, in the fifth by reaching on an infield single to Lexington second baseman Ricky Aracena and scoring on Sterry's triple to center. Batting with the bases loaded in the sixth, Madden plated two runs with a single to left and a third crossed the plate on a throwing error by second-ranked Royals prospect Nick Pratto, the Legends first baseman. Madden moved to third on the play and came home on a sacrifice fly by Lorenzo Cedrola to cap the five-run frame.
Madden came up with the bags juiced again in the seventh and drove in two more runs with a double to center. He singled to right in the ninth for his fifth hit and scored on No. 6 Boston prospect Cole Brannen's base knock to left, which proved to be the decisive run.
Gameday box score
"A key for me coming into this year happened in the offseason," the Dunwoody, Georgia native said. "I was fortunate enough to hang around with several Minor Leaguers who have played for a while. I saw how serious they take the job and how they stressed quality over quantity. It's a long season and every day is a grind, so it's important to make the reps you take count as opposed to how many you do.
"I just want to have as many quality at-bats as I can, get on base and hit the ball hard. Our coaches keep track of quality ABs, so having a nice percentage will lead to more hits and solid numbers."
After being drafted out of Mercer University last June, Madden began his pro career with Class A Short Season Lowell in the New York-Penn League. He struggled to a .176 average over 19 games with the Spinners, but he gained valuable experience that he carried with him into his first Spring Training. He was assigned to Greenville on April 18 and played in four games before hitting the disabled list. He returned Saturday and went 0-for-3 before breaking out Monday night.
"Just being here for a short time, I've already noticed you don't get as many pitches to hit," Madden said. "In college, you may get two or three per at-bat. That went down in [the New York-Penn League], but starting in Spring Training and continuing here, I'm learning that if you get your pitch, you better not miss it. The pitchers have better stuff and better control."
Sterry's four hits matched a career high and his four RBIs were a personal best. Kervin Suarez drove in a run on three hits while Jagger Rusconi and Everlouis Lozada had two apiece for the Drive, who tallied 19 in the game.
Boston's No. 8 prospect Alex Scherff (0-3) surrendered three runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in five innings for Greenville. Durin O'Linger (1-0) allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk while punching out four in two innings to pick up the win.
Kansas City's No. 3 prospect, Seuly Matias, went deep for the fifth time in nine games for Lexington. His 12 home runs lead the South Atlantic League and are fourth-most in the Minors. Royals No. 7 prospect MJ Melendez homered and tripled while Marten Gasparini tripled and doubled. The pair combined for five RBIs.