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Marder excelling in table-setter role
Mariners prospect goes 5-for-6, helps Mavs rout JetHawks
04/08/2012 2:07 AM ET
Jack Marder had an .873 OPS in an 18-game California League stint last year.
Jack Marder had an .873 OPS in an 18-game California League stint last year. (Mike Andruski)
While the rest of the High Desert lineup was launching four homers and flirting with scoring 20 runs, Jack Marder was busy setting the table.

The leadoff batter had a career night Saturday, going 5-for-6 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs as part of a 21-hit assault as the Mavericks pounded the Lancaster JetHawks, 16-2.

"Hits are contagious, that's one thing I take from my college coaches preaching to me," Marder said. "You go through our lineup and there's me, a scrappy little hitter, and everyone else is just a banger. It's my job to get on base and they get those RBIs."

Marder's first at-bat wasn't much of a sign that bigger things were come as he struck out on three pitches. After that, he went to the dugout, walked up the hallway, took a breath and came back to talk to his hitting coach.

"He was asking me what I was thinking," the 2011 16th-round Draft pick said. "And in my own kind of way I just said, 'I need to wake up.' I was actually upset with myself. Next at-bat, I had a 3-1 count, took a breath, thought, 'All right, here we go.' Got a fastball and hit it off the wall for a double. It just started from there."

Marder led the way for a number of big offensive nights by the Mavericks. Shortstop Brad Miller, the Mariners' No. 8 prospect, went 3-for-4 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs scored, while left fielder Mike McGee was 4-for-5 with three doubles and four runs scored.

But the biggest contribution came from the bottom of the lineup, where center fielder Julio Morban homered twice and collected four RBIs as part of a 4-for-5 night.

"We score runs in bunches, big-time," Marder said. "That's the way we kind of work when things are rolling like they did tonight."

Marder, Seattle's No. 17 prospect, tore up the California League after signing last June. The former University of Oregon catcher hit .324 with a .380 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage in his first 71 professional at-bats.

That performance drew Marder a bit more attention than a 16th-rounder typically would get. He said coming out of college he felt like he wanted to make an impression on his new ballclub.

"I felt like I had something to prove. I wanted to play with my pants on fire, and that's how I'm going to get noticed," the California native said. "I might not hit a lot of home runs, but I want to get noticed for my hustle, for sprinting everywhere and playing ball the way I think it should be played."

Like any player, Marder's goal this year is simple -- to play so well he finds his way out of High Desert.

"I obviously want to not be here by the end of the year, but I'll be happy wherever I'm at," he said. "I just have to give it everything I've got. If I keep having good at-bats, I'll get where I want to be."

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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