SoxProspects News

April 13, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Cup of Coffee: Wilkerson leads Salem comeback in extra inning thriller


4/13 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket and Salem had late inning offensive explosions to pick up wins, while the bats in Portland and Greenville remained silent as both were defeated 5-1. 

Shannon Wilkerson (Kelly O'Connor)
Pawtucket scored first and never looked back in a dominating 10-1 win over the Rochester Red Wings (MIN). Jose Iglesias and Che-Hsuan Lin both broke out of early season slumps to lead the PawSox offense. Iglesias raised his average from .111 to .217, going 3 for 5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Lin, who was off to a difficult 1 for 17 start to the year, went 2 for 3 with a double, home run and walk. After picking up single runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings, it was a seven-run eighth that sealed the game. Nate Spears finished with three runs and drove in two more, going 2 for 5 with a walk, and Lars Anderson was 2 for 4 with a double, run scored and an RBI. That was more than enough offense, as starter Brandon Duckworth pitched five solid innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out six. Rehabbing lefty Andrew Miller came on in relief, pitching 1.2 hitless innings with two walks and two strikeouts, and Will Inman picked up his first save since 2005, going 2.1 innings, allowing 1 hit, striking out five and walking two.

Portland's slow start continued, as the Sea Dogs fell to the Binghamton Mets 5-1 in their home opener. Despite a nine hit effort by the Portland offense, their only run came on a Juan Carlos Linares home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. From then on, the offense couldn't capitalize on numerous opportunities, going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 9 on base. Starting pitcher Brock Huntzinger was shaky, giving up five runs in four innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3. Jeremy Kehrt followed with four strong, giving up only one hit while compiling 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. Josh Fields struck out one in a perfect ninth.

Trailing 8-3 heading into the 8th inning, Salem came back for a thrilling 10-8 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL) in 10 innings. Salem scored first on a Sean Coyle home run, and added another run on the second when Drew Hedman scored on an Adalberto Ibarra groundout. However, the Red Sox pitching could not hold the lead. Starter Ryan Pressly was roughed up, giving up 6 runs in 4.1 innings pitched before giving way to Scott Swinson, who allowed 2 in 3.2. Salem rallied for one run in the eighth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Travis Shaw and Xander Bogaerts to cut the Lynchburg lead to 8-4. Shannon Wilkerson led off the ninth with a home run. Pinch hitter Carson Blair then doubled, coming in to score on a single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. to cut the deficit to two. Brandon Jacobs tied up the game on his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left. Pete Ruiz pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a two-out walk and a single before forcing Edward Salcedo to ground out, sending this one to extra innings. Wilkerson and Blair were again the catalysts in the tenth, leading off with back-to-back singles. After a James Kang sacrifice bunt moved both into scoring position, Bradley and Coyle also had consecutive RBI singles, giving Salem a 10-8 lead. Ruiz again pitched himself into and out of trouble, allowing two singles that gave Lynchburg a first-and-third opportunity before inducing a Tommy La Stella ground-out to seal the win. Salem's offense finished with a 20-hit night, led by a 4 for 5 night for Shaw and three hits apiece for Bradley, Wilkerson and Bogaerts. 

Greenville could not get their offense going in a 5-1 loss to the West Virginia Power (PIT). 2011 Supplemental-first-round pick Henry Owens had a mixed bag in his second professional start, striking out 7 in his 3.2 innings, but also giving up 4 runs on 2 homers, 7 hits and 3 walks. Matty Ott was solid out of the pen, going 3.1 scoreless innings, striking out 4, walking 1 and allowing 1 hit. Tyler Lockwood finished, allowing a run in his one inning of work. The Drive picked up their only run in the second inning when a Boss Moanaroa sacrifice fly scored Keury de la Cruz. Jose Vinicio continued to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 3 with a double to raise his season line to .368/.455/.737, but it was not enough for Greenville.

Player of the night: Shannon Wilkerson was the best among many standout performances, igniting Salem's come-from-behind victory hitting a leadoff homer in the four-run ninth and scoring the eventual winning run after leading off the tenth with a single. In all, Wilkerson finished 3 for 5 and added a stolen base.

 
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