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May 4, 2012 at 6:49 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bradley's bat, Pressly's arm lead Salem

Ryan Pressly (Kelly O'Connor)
5/4 Cup of Coffee: Salem and Greenville withstood late rallies on Thursday night in victories, while Pawtucket and Portland fell.

Pawtucket dropped from first place in the International League's North Division with its 6-3 loss to the Toledo Mud Hens (DET). Toledo took the lead in this one in a sloppy fourth inning, scoring four runs on three singles, five walks and a throwing error. The inning may have been worse had it not been for a nice play by Pawtucket catcher Mike Rivera, picking off Aury Ciriaco (brother of the PawSox' Pedro Ciriaco) when he ventured too far off of third base. Pawtucket cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth when Jose Iglesias walked and scored on a Mauro Gomez two-run homer, number 9 on the season for Gomez. Toledo got those two runs back in the sixth due to some more sloppy play by the PawSox. Quintin Berry was able to score from first base on a bunt single due to two throwing errors on the play, one by Gomez and the other by pitcher Justin Thomas. Starter Tony Pena, Jr. allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 3.0 innings pitched, walking 2 and striking out 1. Reliever Will Inman struggled mightily with his control, walking 4 batters in his inning of work, allowing a run without giving up a hit. Thomas allowed 2 runs in 1.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and striking out 1. The pitching bright spot for Pawtucket was Junichi Tazawa. In his first appearance since his demotion, Tazawa threw 2.1 perfect innings, striking out 5. He remains unscored upon in 15.2 innings split between Pawtucket and Boston. Che-Hsuan Lin scored 2 runs for the PawSox without a hit, walking 4 times. He also threw out a runner at home from center field in the third inning. Iglesias went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and made a couple nice plays of his own afield, while Gomez went 2 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI. The PawSox will look to avoid a four game sweep by the Mud Hens this evening.

Portland banged out 11 hits but fell to the Trenton Thunder (NYY) by a score of 9-7. Down 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Sea Dogs tied the score when a Kolbrin Vitek RBI single was followed by a Juan Carlos Linares three-run home run. In the eighth, the Sea Dogs were able to erase a 7-4 deficit, again on a three-run blast, this time by Matt Spring. However, Trenton would knock two solo home runs in the ninth to seal the victory. Stolmy Pimentel was less sharp than he was in last week's 2012 debut, throwing 4.1 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3. Jeremy Kehrt came on in relief and went 1.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, with a walk and two strikeouts. Next on was Aaron Kurcz, who performed one of baseball's rarest feats in the seventh, striking out four batters in one inning. Trenton's Melky Mesa swung and missed at a ball in the dirt to become Kurcz's second strikeout victim of the inning. However, the wild pitch could not be corralled by Matt Spring, and Mesa reached. Kurcz then struck out two more in the inning to complete the rare accomplishment. He finished with a line of 1.2 innings pitched, 1 hit and 5 strikouts. Josh Fields took the loss for Portland, pitching 1.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, including the two solo home runs, for 2 runs, striking out two. As has often been the case this season, Linares was one of the offensive stars for Portland, going 2 for 4 with the homer, 3 RBI and a walk. Spring also went 2 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI, Oscar Tejeda was 2 for 5 with 2 doubles, and Vitek was 2 for 4 with a walk.

Salem held on to win 2-1 over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC). The offensive star of the night for Salem was once again Jackie Bradley, Jr., who scored both of Salem's runs. His solo homer in the third inning put the Red Sox up 1-0. Bradley then scored Salem's second run in the 6th on a sacrifice fly by Travis Shaw. That was all the offense Salem would need, as Ryan Pressly was outstanding. After struggling in his first four starts, Pressly turned in his second consecutive quality performance, throwing 6 shutout innings, giving up only 2 hits and striking out 7 without walking a batter. Pressly has lowered his ERA significantly in his last two outings, from 10.90 down to 7.06. Pete Ruiz threw two hitless innings of relief, walking 1 and striking out 2. Michael Olmsted came on for the ninth and allowed an unearned run on 1 hit while striking out 2 to pick up save number 5 on the season. Salem only needed four hits on the evening to come away with the victory. Bradley finished 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored a homer and an RBI. He also reached when he was hit by a pitch, raising his Carolina League-leading OBP to .470. Shaw collected the other two hits for Salem.

Greenville came from behind in a 5-3 victory over the Lexington Legends (HOU). After falling behind 1-0 in the first, a Henry Ramos solo home run tied things up in the bottom of the second. Lexington grabbed the lead again in the fourth, but Greenville rallied once more, as Ramos singled and scored on a Bryan Johns double to even the score at 2-2. A three-run seventh inning for the Drive broke the game. Johns led off the inning with a walk and scored on a Garin Cecchini double. Cecchini then came around to score on a David Renfroe single, and a Keury de la Cruz single gave Greenville a first and third opportunity. After a Lexington pitching change, Renfroe scored on a Cody Koback grounder to second, giving the Drive a 5-2 advantage. Lexington's ninth inning rally fell short, and Greenville came away with the victory. Starter Miguel Pena was very sharp, throwing 6.0 innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, striking out 5 without walking a batter. Matty Ott picked up the win in relief, striking out 3 in 2.0 hitless innings. Justin Erasmus pitched the ninth for his third save, allowing a run on 2 hits. Blake Swihart broke out of a 2 for 28 skid that had dropped his batting average to .169 with a first inning double. He finished 1 for 4 on the night. Ramos, Renfroe and Lucas LeBlanc each had two hits for the Drive.

Player of the Night: Ryan Pressly was dominant in Salem's victory, striking out 7 in 6.0 shutout innings, raising his record to 2-0 on the season. An honorable mention goes to Portland reliever Aaron Kurcz, for his rare four-strikeout inning in the seventh.