May 17, 2012 at 6:00 AM
5/17 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket continued its winning ways, Portland could not complete its first three-game sweep of the season, Salem received a dominant pitching performance, and Greenville walked off with a win.
Pawtucket improved to 11-2 in its last 13 games after defeating the Durham Bulls (TB), 5-4. Durham scored two runs in the bottom of the first off of PawSox starter Doug Mathis, but Pawtucket answered back with a run in the second on a Nate Spears RBI double. Down 3-1 in the fifth, Jose Iglesias singled and the rehabbing Kevin Youkilis doubled to put the tying runs in scoring position. Iglesias finished 2 for 5 while Youkilis went 1 for 2 with a walk. Lars Anderson drove both of them in with a line drive three-run home run to right field. After Durham tied the game in the sixth, Che-Hsuan Lin put the PawSox back on top with a single to score Josh Kroeger in the seventh. Alex Wilson pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing only one hit and striking out two. Mark Melancon got the save pitching a perfect ninth with one strikeout.
Portland could not complete the sweep of the Reading Phillies (PHI), falling 7-3. Portland jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the second thanks to a Reading error, and another in the third on an RBI single from Reynaldo Rodriguez. Sea Dogs starter Chris Hernandez got a bit unlucky in the fourth, allowing three runs on five hits, with three of the hits never leaving the infield. Hernandez went 6.0 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. He induced 9 ground outs and 1 fly out. Portland tied the game in the fifth with four walks, but left the bases loaded. That was as close as they would come as Reading scored two runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Ronald Bermudez was the only Sea Dog with a multi-hit day, going 2 for 4 with a walk.
Salem survived a late surge from the Carolina Mudcats (CLE), winning 5-4. Salem pounded out 13 hits, with each starter collecting at least one. Despite all the hits, Salem scored their first run in the fourth inning when Christian Vazquez scored on a wild pitch. Salem tacked on two more in the fifth when Travis Shaw came in to score on a Brandon Jacobs double. Jacobs then scored on a Xander Bogaerts RBI single. Jacobs went 3 for 5 with two RBI while Bogaerts went 2 for 5. Jacobs added his second RBI with a single in the seventh to score Sean Coyle, who went 2 for 5 with a double. This was more than enough for Ryan Pressly, who was flat-out dominant. Pressly went 7.0 shutout innings allowing only 4 hits while striking out 8. He struck out the side in both the third and seventh innings. With Salem up 5-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Mudcats managed to push four runs across against Andrew Jones. With runners on first and third, Jones got the Mudcat batter to fly out to end the threat.
Greenville pulled off an impressive comeback, rallying for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Asheville Tourists, 5-4. Asheville scored three runs in the third inning off of Drive starter Jason Garcia, and then chased him from the game in the sixth with a double and RBI single. Garcia tossed 5.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, but struck out 8. The Drive cut the lead to two with two runs in the sixth. Garin Cecchini singled and then scored from first on a Boss Moanaroa double. Moanaroa then scored on a Blake Swihart double. Down 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Drive started chipping away. A walk to Swihart and singles from Jose Vinicio and Jose Garcia loaded the bases. Keury De la Cruz grounded out softly to the first baseman, allowing Swihart to score and the other runners to move into scoring position with two outs. Cecchini stepped to the plate and delivered a walk-off two run double to right field. Cecchini and Garcia finished the game 2 for 5, while Moanaroa finished 2 for 3 with a walk.
Player of the Day: Ryan Pressly turned in his best performance of the year last night. ESPN's Keith Law was in attendance and tweeted that Pressly's velocity was 92-96 in the first inning. After a rough April, Pressly has now thrown 19.0 innings in May with a 2.37 ERA. He has struck out 19 and walked only 2. Salem will be looking to get a similar performance tonight from Matt Barnes.