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Redbirds slam way into record book

Kozma, Hill hit bases-loaded blasts in fourth inning of rout
July 23, 2012
The unusual thing is not that Triple-A Memphis hit two grand slams Sunday. The unusual thing is that they came five at-bats apart.

Already with a comfortable lead, the Redbirds threw fuel on the fire when Pete Kozma stepped up in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and sent Adalberto Flores' fastball over the left-field fence. Three walks and one out later, Steven Hill produced Memphis' second grand slam of the inning.

Memphis added eight more runs en route to a 24-7 clobbering of the visiting Oklahoma City RedHawks.

"I don't think I've ever seen that in a game ever or even heard of it in a game ever," Kozma said. "We were just looking around at each other like, 'Was that two grand slams in one inning?' It was pretty cool."

The 24 runs and 24 hits set franchise records for the Redbirds. Kozma finished 4-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and five RBIs. Hill went 5-for-5, also drove in five runs and scored four times.

Mark Hamilton also homered and plated four runs, while Ryan Jackson went 4-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

"It was everybody. We were scoring runs like crazy," Kozma said. "Hill had a great game with five hits. Jackson had four, I think. Everybody had a really good day, driving in runs and getting hits.

"Hamilton started it with a two-run home run and we just went from there, built off it. Their starter seemed tired, and we smelled blood and kept going after him."

Every Memphis starter, including pitcher Brandon Dickson, had at least one hit. There were five multi-RBI performances and five players scored at least three times.

The Redbirds tied the Pacific Coast League mark with two grand slams in one inning. Sixto Lezcano and Tommie Reynolds did it for Sacramento against Albuquerque on May 17, 1974 and David Cochrane and Charles Jackson duplicated the feat for Calgary against Tacoma on May 16, 1991.

"I hit mine and I thought it was going to hit the wall, just figured it would be a double since I hit it on more of a line," Kozma said. "I thought it'd get over the head of the left fielder, and then all of a sudden the umpire signaled home run."

Not surprisingly, the mood in the dugout was great.

"Everybody's hitting, everybody's happy about it, everyone's in a good mood," said the 24-year-old second baseman. "We had another game like this against Oklahoma City with 20 runs -- but nothing like this with the grand slams -- where we scored 20 runs in their park, so I think they were pretty upset."

After Sunday's outburst, Kozma is hitting .244 with eight homers and 47 RBIs in 98 games. Hill's also batting .244 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 48 games. He appeared in six games with St. Louis earlier this season.

Dickson (5-8) turned in a strong outing for the Redbirds, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk while fanning seven over six innings.

RedHawks starter Paul Clemens (8-8) was charged with eight runs on 10 hits over three innings.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to