10/14/09 8:29 PM ET
Mariners' Ackley aces first test
Second overall pick goes 2-for-4 in Fall League debut
By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to MLB.com
The No. 2 overall Draft pick took a four-seamer from reliever Brandon Sisk (Royals) into left field for a third-inning base hit in his unofficial professional debut with the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.
Ackley later scored on Trayvon Robinson's triple and went 2-for-4 on Wednesday afternoon, but the Javelinas were beaten by the Surprise Rafters, 6-4.
"It was great for me to get my first at-bat," Ackley said. "I just wanted to make contact and I stayed with what I've done in the past."
Judging from his numbers at the University of North Carolina, Ackley is setting the bar pretty high. He set single-season school records and led the nation with 119 hits, 296 at-bats and 73 games played as a freshman. His 74 runs also set a Tar Heels rookie record. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2008, the power-hitting outfielder batted .417 with 22 homers and 73 RBIs as a junior.
Ackley was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's top collegiate player, an honor he lost to No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.
Despite a highly decorated college career, Ackley admitted he was still a little nervous stepping into the batter's box Wednesday, a feeling that faded as soon as the first ball crossed the plate.
"Especially in the Fall League, you are seeing the best guys out here," Ackley said. "And it's just a great opportunity to see the best players in every organization. You are not always getting the best [competition] in college."
Although he had about a dozen at-bats for the Mariners in some extended spring games, to put on a uniform and be joined by his new teammates was a special feeling for the 21-year-old standout.
"It's great to play in these games where there is meaning," Ackley said. "And here you are seeing everybody [that other teams have to offer]."
For Surprise, Yankees prospect Austin Romine went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Scott Moviel (Mets) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.