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May 20, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Almanzar, Bermudez steer Drive to victory


5/20 Cup of Coffee: Greenville brought home the lone win of the evening as their bats made up for some shaky defense as Pawtucket, Portland and Salem all fell in close contests on Wednesday.

Late inning scoring was not enough for Pawtucket as they fell 5-2 to the Norfolk Tides (BAL). Starter Michael Bowden continued his early season struggles, going 7.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and allowing 3 home runs. The Pawtucket bats were held in check until the eighth, when shortstop Niuman Romero plated Ryan Khoury with an RBI single. Down 5-1 in the ninth, the PawSox loaded the bases with just one out but would only score one run on Bubba Bell's RBI groundout. Ramon A. Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Bowden. The loss drops Pawtucket to 19-21, 5.5 games behind the first place Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. Bell and Lars Anderson both had two hit evenings to lead the Pawtucket offense.

A poor showing by the Portland bullpen helped them fall to the lowly New Britian Rock Cats (MIN) 4-3. Sea Dogs starter Ryne Miller had a decent outing, going 5.0 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, issuing 4 walks and striking out 4. Che-Hsuan Lin and Luis Exposito helped Portland take a 2-0 lead in the second as they both laced RBI singles. New Britian scored three in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead as reliever Eammon Portice struggled. Portice pitched 2.0 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits while striking out 2. Yamaico Navarro's RBI groundout in the eighth tied the game at 3-3. The Rock Cats won the game in the top of the 10th as Ryne Lawson, who picked up the final two outs of the tenth, allowed Bryce Cox's runner to score. Cox went 2.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 2 to pick up the loss. Nate Spears went 3 for 5 with a double to lead the Portland offense.

A late charge by Salem was not enough to overcome a large deficit as they lost 5-3 to the Kinston Indians (CLE). Red Sox starter Caleb Clay went the first 5.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits while striking out 1. Will Latimer pitched the final 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. Salem was kept off the board until the seventh, when they scored two on Ryan Dent's RBI double and Mitch Dening's RBI single. Attempting a comeback, Salem scored their third run of the night in the ninth as Tim Federowicz hit his 18th double of the season to knock in a run. The rally would fizzle there as Salem went 1-2-3 after the double. The Red Sox struck out ten times in the contest as they faced stellar pitching from the Indians. Ryan Lavarnway and Federowicz were both 2 for 4 to lead the offense.

Greenville's offense was enough to overcome six errors as the Drive toppled the Lexington Legends (HOU) 9-5. Starter Pete Ruiz had an up-and-down outing, going 4.0 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits while striking out 7. Greenville commenced their scoring in the second, getting two runs on Dan Butler and Reynaldo Rodriguez sacrifice flies. Ronald Bermudez roped an RBI single in the third to bring the Drive within one run at 4-3. In the fifth, Greenville would open the game up as they scored four times to take a 7-5 lead. Bases loaded walks to Rodriguez and Zach Gentile plated the first two runs and Joantoni Garcia's RBI double brought in two more before Gentile was thrown out at home to end the inning. Tom Ebert would take over for Ruiz on the mound in the fifth and shut down the Legends the rest of the game, going 5.0 innings, allowing just 2 hits to pick up the win. Greenville would score one in the seventh on Bermudez's RBI double and once again in the eighth on a bases loaded walk to Michael Almanzar. Almanzar was 3 for 3 on the evening with a double, RBI, three runs scored and two walks. Bermudez was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk. The victory brings Greenville back to .500 at 20-20, 5 games back of the first place Augusta GreenJackets (SFG) whom the Drive open up a four game series with at home this evening.

Player of the Night: Ronald Bermudez, who went 3 for 4 with two doubles, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored in Greenville's 9-5 victory.