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April 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Cup of Coffee: Lavarnway's clutch hitting lifts Pawtucket

4/18 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates went three for four Tuesday as Pawtucket was on the winning end of a pitcher’s duel, Salem and Greenville's offenses carried them to victory and Portland continued its slide to open the season.

Ryan Lavarnway (Kelly O'Connor)
A late inning home run and stellar pitching allowed Pawtucket to squeeze past the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS), 1-0. Justin Germano pitched 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 5. Brandon Duckworth picked up the victory for his 2.0 innings of spotless relief, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3. The game was knotted 0-0 until Ryan Lavarnway laced a solo home run with one out in the top of the ninth. The Chiefs attempted to rally in the bottom half of the inning, but they left runners stranded on second and third to end the game. 

Portland’s rough start to the season continued as they fell to 3-10 after a 6-3 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). Brock Huntzinger dropped to 0-3 as he tossed 5.0 innings, allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 2. Will Latimer followed Huntzinger with 3.0 innings of relief, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk, striking out a pair. Josh Fields came on in the ninth, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 1. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the third inning with a solo home run to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 advantage. The Rock Cats responded immediately in fourth, plating three runs to leap out in front 3-1. Finding themselves down 6-1 in the ninth, Portland received an RBI triple from Bryce Brentz that brought home two to trim the deficit to 6-3. Unfortunately, Brentz was left on third as the Sea Dogs quickly made the final two outs of the ball game. Brentz was 2 for 4 with a triple and 2 RBI to lead the Portland offense. 

Despite an early five run deficit, Salem’s offense came alive in the later innings to push them past the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL), 8-6. Red Sox starter Ryan Pressly had a rough night on the mound, hurling 5.0 innings, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and a walk, striking out 1. Pete Ruiz picked up his second victory of the season for his 3.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Michael Olmsted tossed the ninth inning to record his second save, allowing 1 hit and punching out 1. Down 5-0 in the third, Salem brought home two runs on Shannon Wilkerson’s RBI triple and Jackie Bradley’s sacrifice fly. After Lynchburg pulled ahead 6-2 in the top of the fifth, Bradley’s RBI single pulled the Red Sox to within two, 6-4. Christian Vazquez’s sacrifice fly in the sixth cut Salem’s deficit to one and Brandon Jacobs’ RBI single in the seventh tied the game, 6-6. Michael Almanzar’s RBI single and Sean Coyle’s bases loaded walk in the eighth gave the Red Sox an 8-6 advantage they would not relinquish. The two teams combined for 27 hits, with Almanzar leading all players by going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. 

Greenville’s offense took advantage of six errors to topple the Lexington Legends (HOU), 10-6. Henry Owens made his second professional start, tossing 4.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 8. Matty Ott picked up the victory for his 3.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 1. Justin Erasmus picked up his first save of the season for a dominant 2.0 innings out of the bullpen, not allowing a base runner while striking out 4. The Drive got off to a quick start, bringing home three runs in the first on a Garin Cecchini RBI single and Henry Ramos RBI double. Blake Swihart opened up the contest in the second as he smacked his first professional home run, a three run blast, that gave Greenville a 6-0 lead. Boss Moanaroa added a solo home run in the fifth to give the Drive a 7-2 advantage. The Legends rallied in the fifth and the sixth to cut the Greenville lead to 7-6. In the ninth, a Keury De La Cruz two run home run and a run that came home on a key throwing error provided the Drive with some breathing room, 10-6. Every member of the Greenville lineup reached base at least once with De La Cruz leading the offense with a 3 for 5 evening with a home run and 2 RBI. 

Player of the Night: Ryan Lavarnway, who hit a clutch ninth inning solo home run to give Pawtucket a 1-0 victory over Syracuse. Lavarnway was 2 for 4 on the evening with a home run and a run scored.