Cowart drives in career-high five runs

Angels prospect plates two with a sacrifice fly, also triples

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | June 1, 2012 8:42 PM ET

When things are going well at the plate for Kaleb Cowart, the ball off his bat not only finds the hole -- it finds the right glove.

Cowart collected two of his career-high five RBIs on a sacrifice fly Friday night as the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels outslugged the visiting Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 14-9.

"I got a fastball, I stayed through it and put it in a good area of the park. The center fielder [Chadwin Stang] made a nice [running] play, but I guess he thought there were two outs and didn't throw the ball in right away," Cowart said of his eventful seventh-inning at-bat. "I was really surprised. I didn't even know you could get two RBIs on a sac fly. I was like, 'Does that count?'"

The Angels' No. 4 prospect also extended his hitting streak to 10 games with more conventional success: He smacked an RBI triple toward Stang in the first inning and singled home two more off starter Will West in the Kernels' seven-run second.

"I just tried to stay with my approach of going up the middle of the field," said Cowart, who also struck out and walked in five plate appearances.

The switch-hitting infielder, who turns 20 on Saturday, has batted .512 (21-for-41) with nine extra-base hits and 10 RBIs during the streak. He's hiked his batting average 51 points to an even .300.

The five RBIs narrowly eclipsed his previous career best. He went deep and plated four runs in a May 9 victory in Burlington.

As good as things are going at the plate, Cowart said he's just as pleased with his play at third base. He credited his improved first-step quickness -- and, therefore, range -- to offseason work with his strength and conditioning coach. Cowart has played the hot corner primarily since the Angels made him the 18th overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He's committed eight errors in 52 games.

West (1-1) gave up nine runs on six hits and three walks, failing to record an out in the second.

Kernels counterpart Dan Reynolds pitched two innings before exiting, while reliever Michael Johnson (3-3) earned the win with four solid frames.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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