Jaxx Notes: Marmol Stellar Again

At the rate Carlos Marmol has been going throughout most of this young season, his teammates and coaches agree that the sky is the limit as to where he might end up before 2006 is over.

The 23-year-old Double-A right-hander was solid for the fourth time in five outings Friday in Jackson, Tenn., pitching seven strong innings and allowing one run off of five hits. He struck out six and limited himself to one walk as the Diamond Jaxx edged Jacksonville, 3-2.

The former outfielder/catcher in the organization has coughed up one earned run or less in all but one of his five starts this season. He was roughed up last weekend in Chattanooga and suffered his first loss to a team that scored six runs on eight hits in three innings against him.

With injuries to right-handers Randy Wells and David Cash forcing both players to the disabled list, the Jaxx welcomed a quick return from Marmol to his familiar form on the heels of his first bad outing of the year.

"He's a competitor and one of those guys who turns it up when he has to," said West Tenn manager Pat Listach. "The kid's got an overpowering fastball and he's commanding his breaking ball outstandingly."

Marmol's second victory of the season Friday improved the Jaxx to 13-9 and tied them with Huntsville for second place in the Southern League North, a half-game behind the first place Lookouts at 14-9.

"When he needs the strikeout, he goes and gets it," Listach added. "When he needs a groundball, he goes and gets that. He knows what he's doing out there. He's going to be a promising young pitcher for the Chicago Cubs."

Chris Walker, the team's leadoff hitter and starting center fielder, is one of many teammates impressed by Marmol this season, he says.

"He's pretty solid," Walker said after the team's victory. "He's constantly throwing 94 or 95 and even as high as 98 sometimes. He had the one bad outing against Chattanooga but aside from that, he's pitched terrific."

Oh, and Marmol can still swing the bat pretty well, too. He was hitless in two at-bats Friday, but has five hits in 10 at-bats on the season, including a home run and two doubles.

After Marmol departed, right-hander Rocky Cherry and left-hander Clay Rapada finished things off in relief. Cherry, who underwent Tommy John surgery a year ago, allowed just his third earned run of the year in eight appearances for a 1.84 ERA.

Rapada meanwhile notched his seventh save, tying Chattanooga's David Shafer for the most in the Southern League. In 12 appearances, Rapada has allowed two runs and pitched scoreless ball in all but one outing. His ERA dropped to 1.17 in 15 1/3 innings.

Offensively, third baseman Scott Moore hit his second home run and broke a 1-for-13 slide. OF Nic Jackson, fresh up from Daytona earlier this week, picked up two hits to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Entering the night, the Jaxx had dropped four of their last five, including Thursday's series opener with Jacksonville at Pringles Park. The team is in the midst of a 10-game home stand with an upcoming series against Huntsville beginning May 2.

"At the start of the year, we were winning a lot of one- or two-run games," noted Walker. "The last week has been a little rough, but we'll be all right."

Steve Holley is the publisher of Inside The Ivy. In addition to his work for Scout.com, he also covers Nicholls State University athletics for the Tri-Parish Times in southeast Louisiana. E-mail Steve at staff@insidetheivy.com.

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