Cokinos homers twice for JetHawks

Astros prospect nabs four hits, 11 total bases, three RBIs

By Josh Jackson / | July 12, 2013 10:43 PM ET

Don't ask M.P. Cokinos where his second home run of Friday's game ended up.

"I don't know," he said. "I hit it and put my head down and started running."

The Astros prospect went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, falling a triple shy of the cycle, to lead Class A Advanced Lancaster to a 10-3 thumping of Inland Empire.

"Every day is a good day if you get to get on the field and play baseball," Cokinos said, "but today was special. And it was special for the whole team."

Cokinos drilled a leadoff homer to spark a four-run second inning that put the JetHawks ahead for good.

"It's definitely a good feeling," Cokinos said of homering in the first-at bat of a game. "And it's even better when the guys behind you all start hitting, too. But you've got to kind of move on because that at-bat is over."

Cokinos moved on by lining a single in the third and homering again in the fifth. It was no coincidence, he said, that Andrew Alpin was on base in each at-bat.

"Honestly, I think it's just that I had some real good, hot hitters behind me and Alpin in front of me," he said. "Those guys protecting me -- the whole lineup, really -- made sure I got some good pitches to hit."

The 23-year-old first baseman doubled in the seventh and, with a shot at the cycle, flied out in the eighth.

The four-hit performance came on the heels of an 0-for-9 stretch over two games. Prior to that mini-skid, however, Cokinos had collected at least one RBI in nine straight contests.

"It felt real good, but you know, baseball is baseball," he said. "You kind of just have to come out every day and do your best on every day."

Cokinos has been doing that pretty much all season. He leads the California League with a .346 batting average, ranks second with a .433 on-base percentage and has been the circuit's toughest batter to strike out.

Born in Houston, he attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio before his hometown team selected in the 31st round of last year's Draft. After hitting .320 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 36 games in the short-season New York-Penn League last summer, he skipped a level to start his second professional campaign.

"It's awesome. I'm getting to play with really good players," he said. "I'm just glad to be a part of everything. It's a great league and I'm on a great team, playing with Delino [DeShields], [Nolan] Fontana, [Tyler] Heineman, everyone. I'm real glad to be a part of this team."

DeShields, the Astros' No. 5 prospect reached base twice, while Fontana -- Houston's 11th-ranked prospect -- delivered an RBI single off the bench for the JetHawks.

Alex Yarbrough, the Angels' No. 18 prospect, had two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the 66ers.

Josh Jackson 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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