Sanchez, Austin lead RiverDogs' romp

Catcher drives in seven, outfielder goes 5-for-5 in 19-6 win

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | May 30, 2012 1:32 PM ET

Tyler Austin only played in two summer games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees after becoming a 13th-round draft pick in 2010. That was enough, however, to gauge the abilities of Gary Sanchez, who was also there, playing in the pros for the first time.

"I knew then he was an unbelievable player," Austin said.

On Wednesday, both Austin and Sanchez played up to and nearly beyond belief.

Sanchez drove in a career-high seven runs, and Austin went 5-for-5 at the plate as the Yankees' Top 20-ranked prospects slugged the Class A Charleston River Dogs past the host Asheville Tourists, 19-6, earlier on Wednesday.

"He's one of the better hitters I have ever played with," said Austin, who batted cleanup, one slot ahead of Sanchez. "No pitcher wants to face him -- or me, to be honest."

The game was suspended Tuesday and finally resumed with two outs in the bottom of the third inning.

Playing his usual catcher spot, Sanchez, 19, smacked a run-scoring double in the first, a grand slam in the eighth and a two-run double in the ninth. The right-handed hitter had seven total RBIs over his previous eight games.

Sanchez, signed by the Yankees in July 2009 out of his native Dominican Republic, set his single-game career best in RBIs at six two weeks ago on April 16.

Austin, meanwhile, plated seven in an April 28 game. His 5-for-5 perfomance Wednesday, while perfect, fell short of his 6-for-6 game as a member of the New York-Penn League's Staten Island Yankees last Aug. 21.

Playing in right field, Austin struck an RBI single in the first, a single in the second, a triple in the fourth, a double in the sixth and a single in the ninth. He also walked in the eighth, and stole his 13th base of the season.

Was he thinking cycle-completing homer in his final two at-bats?

"Oh, yeah, definitely was," he admitted. "That would have been a sweet cap-off to my day."

Austin has four multi-hit games over his last six, raising his season batting average to .323.

"Pitchers have been trying to pitch me different lately," he said. "A lot more breaking pitches in fastball counts, so I have to see it earlier or take if it's a ball."

In his first full season, Austin has an OPS of 1.063.

"I couldn't imagine it going any better than it has been," he admitted.

Asheville infielder Trevor Story, the Rockies' No. 8 prospect, went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and two RBIs. Story, the 45th overall draftee in 2011, and Delta Cleary Jr., who collected the first ever hit against Dylan Bundy last month, also went deep in the teams' second game of the day, a 10-5 Tourists win.

Story is second among South Atlantic League shortstops in longballs, with 10 through 47 games.

In the day's latter game, Sanchez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, and Austin singled and walked in five plate appearances.

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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