Cozart slugs Saguaros to victory
Reds prospect homers twice, collects four RBIs
Zach Cozart's patience is paying off.
The Reds shortstop prospect homered twice and drove in four runs Friday to power the Peoria Saguaros to an 11-10 triumph over the Mesa Solar Sox.
Cozart, selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2007 Draft, opened the scoring with a solo shot in the second inning. He also lifted a sacrifice fly in the fifth and capped a five-run sixth with a two-run blast.
"I got my timing down pretty good today and I followed pitches and put some pretty good swings on them," Cozart said. "I've been working with our hitting guys here on getting the foot down early and reading the ball out of the pitcher's hand."
Cozart saw his home run total drop from 14 with Class A Dayton in 2008 to 10 with Double-A Carolina in 2009. He said it was the result of a conscious effort on his part and believes his new focus will end up boosting his power numbers.
"In years past, I was just swinging at the first pitch. [Now], I learned to work the pitch count," the 24-year-old Tennessee native said. "I just think the patience will bring better counts. And that's when people hit more homers, when they are ahead of the count."
Matt McBride (Indians) also had three hits and drove in a pair of runs to raise his Arizona Fall League average to .391. Former first-round pick Jason Castro (Astros) added a solo homer and Braves prospect Freddie Freeman doubled and contributed two RBIs for Peoria (2-8).
Florida State League All-Star Chris Parmelee (Twins) homered, tripled and drove in five runs for Mesa (3-7). Luis Exposito (Red Sox) hit a two-run shot and Marlins Minor Leaguer Bryan Petersen went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to extend his hitting streak to six games.
Bradley Boxberger (1-1) earned the win, allowing one hit and striking out one over two shutout innings. The Reds' first-round pick was one of the few pitchers who emerged unscathed as the teams combined for 26 hits.
Connor Graham (Indians) recorded up his first save for the Saguaros. He entered in the ninth with the bases loaded and none out, walked Parmelee to force in a run but got Angels prospect Hank Conger to hit into a double play and retired Josh Vitters (Cubs) on a groundout to end the game.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.