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May 12, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Cup of Coffee: Standout pitching leads to wins for affiliates

5/12 Cup of Coffee: Pitchers across the system helped keep opponents at bay in wins for Pawtucket, Portlans, Salem, and Greenville.

Pete Ruiz (Kelly O'Connor)
Pawtucket pitching helped lead the way to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Clippers (CLE), not allowing a run until the ninth inning. The PawSox put up their first run in the first inning when Lars Anderson ground out but drove in Pedro Ciriaco. In the third, they added another run when Ryan Lavarnway singled to help Jose Iglesias cross the plate. Pawtucket heated up a bit and added three more runs in the fifth. Nate Spears began the inning with a double, and was then driven in by a Ciriaco single next at bat. After that, Lavarnway reached base on a walk, and then he and Ciriaco were driven in by Mauro Gomez. After that, PawSox bats were silent in a series of 1-2-3 innings. PawSox starter Doug Mathis pitched 6 shutout innings with 5 hits and no walks. He was replaced in the seventh by Junichi Tazawa, who pitched 1 inning of relief for no hits, no runs, and no walks. Tony Pena closed out the game for the PawSox and pitched 2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. Pawtucket and Columbus each had 7 hits in the game.

The Sea Dogs had a 4-run fourth inning and held on to the win for a 4-2 victory against the Trenton Thunder (NYY). This win was just Portland's second out of eight outings with the Thunder this season. Pawtucket bats had been quiet, recording just one hit, before the fifth inning. Reynaldo Rodriguez kicked off the inning with a solo home run. Oscar Tejada reached base on a single and was driven on a double from Bryce Brentz. Dan Butler doubled, advancing Brentz to third, and then Derrik Gibson drew a walk to load up the bases. Heiker Meneses also walked, causing Brentz to cross the plate and make the score 3-0. Kolbrin Vitek then grounded out, but drove in Butler. After their successful fifth inning, the Sea Dogs had a handful of singles, only to leave men on base. Portland starter Chris Hernandez pitched 6 great innings, allowing just three hits and a walk, but then got into trouble in the seventh. He gave up 4 hits, including a 2 run homer. Hernandez came out of the game with one man on and 2 outs. He pitched 6.2 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs, and 1 walk. He was replaced by Aaron Kurcz, who got out of the inning and went on to close out the game for the Sea Dogs. Kurcz pitched 2.1 perfect innings with no hits, no runs, no walks, and 5 strikeouts.

After playing an abbreviated game earlier in the week, Salem made up the innings they lost in a 14 inning 5-3 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX). Salem tried to get some runs in the second inning, loading up the bases on singles from Adalberto Ibarra, Drew Hedman, and Shannon Wilkerson, but unfortunately were unable to do anything with it. They loaded the bases in the fourth, but once again were unable to score. Also in the fourth inning, Myrtle Beach manager, Jason Wood, was ejected from the game. The first runs of the game came in the fifth inning for the Pelicans. Matt Barnes gave up a homer and another run scored on a Sean Coyle fielding error. Barnes pitched 6 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs, no walks, and 8 strikeouts. Salem batters retaliated in the seventh inning by putting up three runs. Wilkerson started off the inning with a double, followed by a Jackie Bradley single. Bradley was caught trying to steal second, but then Travis Shaw doubled to score Wilkerson. Brandon Jacobs then doubled to score Shaw and successfully stole third base and then scored on a throwing error by the Pelicans' catcher. Myrtle Beach answered in the bottom of the seventh with a run against pitcher Jeremiah Bayer to tie up the game 3-3. Bayer pitched 2 innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 run, and 1 walk. The next two Red Sox pitchers completely shut down Myrtle Beach, combining for 6 perfect innings through the remainder of the game. Michael Olmstead came on in the ninth and threw 3 innings with no hits, no runs, no walks, and 5 strikeouts. He was replaced in the twelfth by Pete Ruiz, who also pitched three innings with no hits, no runs, and no walks. The Salem batters had a few scoring opportunities, but didn't act on them until the fourteenth inning when Xander Bogaerts singled to drive in Jacobs and Christian Vazquez singled to score Bogaerts. The Red Sox had 13 hits on the night, but also left a dismal 14 men on base throughout the course of the game. Every batter except Matty Johnson  recorded a hit, and Wilkerson led the pack with 3.

Greenville lost game one of a double header 2-1 on the road against the Augusta GreenJackets (SFG). The Drive put up the first run of the game in the second when Boss Moanaroa blasted his third home run of the season. Augusta answered with a run of their own against pitcher Yeiper Castillo in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game up at 1. Castillo appeared to get into some trouble in the bottom of the third, when he walked a batter to load the bases but was able to get out of the inning without letting in a run. Greenville also loaded the bases up in the fifth, but Keury De La Cruz hit into a double play and the Drive were unable to score. Castillo came out of the game after the fifth and was replaced by Nefi Ogando who pitched the remainder of the game. Because of the double header, both games were abbreviated to seven innings, but the tie forced an eighth inning. Ogando pitched 2 innings with 3 hits, 1 run, and 2 walks and gave up Augusta's walk-off run in the eighth. Garin Cecchini and Jose Vinicio each had 2 runs in the effort.

The Drive rallied to come back for revenge in game two to win 11-4 over the GreenJackets. Game two was a makeup of a rainout from April 22nd in Greenville. Augusta scored first with a run against Drive starter Scott Swinson in the first inning. They put up another in the third. Greenville bats were quiet, putting up just one hit before the explosive fifth inning. The inning started out with strikeouts from Cody Koback and Jordan Weems, and then Nick Natoli drew a walk. Bryan Johns reached on a fielding error, followed by a De La Cruz single that drove in Natoli. A stroke of luck kept the Drive going when Cecchini struck out but then reached on a passed ball, and caused Johns to score. David Renfroe then singled to score De La Cruz and Cecchini. Henry Ramos doubled to score Renfroe before a pitching change and Koback's second strikeout, the fourth of the inning. The Drive put up 4 more runs in the sixth inning. Weems, Natoli, and Johns loaded the bases and then De La Cruz blasted a grand slam to make the score 9-2. Swinson gave up two more runs in the bottom half of that inning. He pitched 6 innings for 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 errors, and 1 walk. The Drive put a nail in the coffin with two more runs in the seventh, when Johns doubled to drive in Weems and De La Cruz doubled to score Natoli. Hunter Cervenka came out in the seventh to close out the game and pitched 1 inning with no hits, no runs, no walks, and a strikeout. De La Cruz and Ramos each had 3 hits in the 12 hit game for the Drive.

Players of the Night: Michael Olmstead and Pete Ruiz who combined for six perfect innings to keep the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at bay in extra innings and help Salem hold on for the win.