April 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM
4/9 Cup of Coffee: Matt Barnes certainly did not disappoint in his professional debut, combining with Jason Garcia on a 4-0 shutout of the Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI).
Barnes got right to work in the first inning, getting one ground out and two strikeouts. He ran into a bit of trouble in the third, but not because he was getting hit hard or missing the strike zone. A bunt single followed by an error from Jose Vinicio put two runners on with two outs, but Barnes was able to buckle down and strike out the BlueClaw batter looking to end the inning. In all, Barnes threw 5.0 innings allowing 0 runs on 2 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 9. He was followed by Garcia who went the final 4.0 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3 to finish off the shutout. Greenville got on the board in the second when David Renfroe went deep to left center field for a solo home run, his first of the year. The most exciting play of the game was a Vinicio inside-the-park home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth. The ball was hit between the second and first basemen, and rattled around in the right field corner of Fluor Filed. The throw beat Vinicio to the plate, but the catcher could not handle it, and he slid in safely. The Drive would tack on two more runs in the frame, both coming in on a single by Renfroe.
Salem was unable to get its offense going against the Frederick Keys (BAL), losing 5-0. Salem starter Miguel Celestino pitched well, going 5.0 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 0 and striking out 2. He gave up a run in the first when the Keys got to him for a double, followed by an RBI single. He got into trouble again in the fifth, when the Keys hit three consecutive 1-out singles, pushing their lead to 2-0. He then induced a double play to get out of the jam without any further damage. Even though he managed to keep the game close, Salem's offense was not able to capitalize, only mustering six hits on the day, two of which came from catcher Christian Vazquez.
Player of the Day: Matt Barnes gave Red Sox fans a reason to be excited on an otherwise upsetting Easter Sunday. He recorded 15 outs, of which 9 were strikeouts and 4 were ground balls. He showed why the Red Sox drafted him 19th overall out of UConn, and if he keeps pitching like this, he will find himself in Salem sooner rather than later.