Down on the Dodgers Farm June 23

It's way too early to get delirious, you understand, but you can't blame the members of the Gulf Coast Dodgers if they're sprinting to the plate. Right now, they're cranking out more hits than Usher.

The latest splurge occurred Thursday when they collected 16 base knocks en route to a 9-2 romp past the Expos. This was the third win in four games of the just-started season, games in which they've rung up 56 hits and 35 runs, batting .341 as a team in the process. It's Saturday night at the Mall every day for this group of mostly teen-agers.

The big guns in the latest were Carlos Pena with a triple and two singles, Derry Jackson with two doubles and a single, Jesus Mora with a double and two singles, Jamie Hoffman with a triple and double and Rocky Rivera with a double and single. The pitching was quite good, too, as Alvin Hayes allowed only two hits and a run in five innings for the victory.


Las Vegas 4, Salt Lake 2--Chin-Feng Chen clouted a two-run shot in the ninth (No. 14) as the 51's came up with three to snap a four-game losing streak. Brian Falkenborg threw efficiently (five innings, five hits, one run) with the win going to Tom Farmer (4-3), who held the Stingers without a run in the final two innings. Joey Thurston had two hits for Vegas, 14 games out in the PCL South.

Birmingham 8, Jacksonville 7--The Barons hit four homers, three off starter Glenn Bott before the Suns rallied to tie only to lose when Yhency Brazoban (4-4) gave up the winner in the ninth. Shane Victorino had a triple and two singles with Brennan King adding a double and single . The Suns are 0-2 in the Southern League second half.

Vero Beach 6, Fort Meyers 1--Jarod Plummer pitched a brilliant game in which he was reached for only a solo homer with a misplayed fly ball falling for a triple. Plummer (2-1 ), a 20-year-old righthander from Texas who had been on the disabled list until recently, didn't walk a man while striking out eight in seven innings. Russ Martin hit a three-run shot (No. 9) and Jesse Hoorelbeke sent his fourth out. However, Joel Guzman was 0-4 to end his hitting streak at 18 games.

Charleston, SC 16-5, Columbus 5-0--Down went the Catfish twice in a makeup doubleheader to fall to 1-2 in the SAL second half. Jonathan Figueroa, sent here to hopefully resurrect his career as a starter, actually was doing quite nicely in the first game, shutting the Riverdogs out for three innings while striking out five. However when they opened the fourth with three straight hits, he was removed in favor of Chris Testa. Disaster struck in the form of seven runs. The Dogs then went on for seven more in the fifth. Although Figueroa (0-1), wasn't the victim of all this, he was the loser nonetheless.

Jereme Milons drove in four with his seventh homer and a single.

Zach Hammes (3-4) was tagged with the defeat in the second contest, in which he gave up five runs in the same number of innings.

Ogden 7, Casper 5--Just-signed Justin Ruggiano, an outfielder from Texas A & M, homered in his first pro at-bat, Chris Westervelt later hit his second as the Raptors came from behind to run their record to 4-3 in the Pioneer League. Starter Jose Obispo yielded five runs but Wesley Wright checked the Rockies (why aren't they called the Friendly Ghosts?) on two hits over four. Luis Castillo lined two hits and is batting .500.

Aaron Klusman, another making his pro debut, pitched the ninth for the save.