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June 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bard struggles, LeBlanc drives Greenville past Crawdads

Lucas LeBlanc (Kelly O'Connor)
6/9 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket found itself on the wrong end of a extra inning thriller while Portland beat out mother nature to claim victory. Salem dropped both games of a doubleheader as Greenville flexed its offensive muscle and the DSL Red Sox continued their hot start. 

Daniel Bard made his eagerly anticipated 2012 Triple-A debut, but Pawtucket was not able to fend off the Indianapolis Indians (PIT) as they fell 8-6 in 13 innings. Bard received the start and tossed just 1.0 inning, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 hit batsmen while striking out 2. Bard threw 16 of his 25 pitches for strikes but was victimized by a bloop hit and the hit batters. Doug Mathis relieved Bard and went 6.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6. Alex Wilson added 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, notching 1 strikeout. Mark Prior also provided 2.0 innings of relief out of the PawSox bullpen, allowing a hit and a walk while punching out 4. Will Inman received the loss for his 2.0 innings of work, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2. Finding themselves down 4-0 in the third, Pawtucket climbed within one on Mauro Gomez's three run home run. Tony Thomas' solo home run in the sixth inning tied the game, 4-4. The PawSox entered the bottom of the ninth down one but a clutch Ryan Kalish RBI double tied the game once again. The PawSox had a golden opportunity to with the game in the tenth, as Che-Hsuan Lin led off the inning with a triple. Unfortunately, Lin was stranded at third and the game continued. Indianapolis plated a run in the top of the 12th, but Lin led off the bottom half of the inning with another triple and scored on Josh Kroeger's RBI single. The Indians struck right back in the 13th, taking advantage of throwing errors by Inman and Lin to plate two runs and claim the 8-6 victory. Lin was 3 for 6 with the two triples to lead the Pawtucket offense.

Portland grounded the Richmond Flying Squirrels before Mother Nature halted play in a 4-1 victory in 7+ innings. Anthony Ranaudo tossed 5.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4. Aaron Kurcz picked up the victory for his 2.0 innings of relief, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 1. Josh Fields added 0.1 innings, allowing a hit and notching a strikeout. With the game scoreless in the second, Oscar Tejeda laced a solo home run to put the Sea Dogs on top, 1-0. Tied 1-1 in the seventh, Portland grabbed a 4-1 lead on Jeremy Hazelbaker's two-out, three run home run. The game was called due to rain shortly thereafter with the Flying Squirrels having the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth.

In game one of their doubleheader, Salem's comeback attempt fell short as the Red Sox were toppled 5-4 by the Potomac Nationals (WAS). Keith Couch tossed a 6.0 inning complete game, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits while striking out 5. The Red Sox plated the game's first run in the top of the second on a bases loaded walk to Adalberto Ibarra. The lead would be short-lived however, as the Nationals scored four times in the bottom half of the inning to grab a 4-1 advantage. Down 5-1 in the sixth, Christian Vazquez looped an RBI single to pull Salem to within three. In the seventh, two costly Potomac errors allowed Brandon Jacobs and Travis Shaw to line back-to-back RBI singles to draw the Red Sox to within one. The rally was ended with Shaw on first as Xander Bogaerts flew out to center to end the contest.

Game two saw the two teams combine for just seven hits, but Potomac doubled up Salem, 4-2. Jeremy Kehrt picked up the loss for his 5.0 innings of work, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Ruben Flores added an inning of scoreless relief. Bogaerts opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Down 4-1 in the fifth, Carson Blair smacked an RBI double to pull Salem to within two. The Red Sox did not have a base runner after the fifth and dropped 2.5 games behind first place Winston-Salem (CHW).

A game that saw 26 hits and 17 runs broke Greenville's way as they caged the Hickory Crawdads (TEX), 11-6. Henry Owens moved to 6-2 as he tossed 5.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 9. Raynel Velette added 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and a walk, striking out 2. Tyler Wilson also provided 2.0 innings out of the bullpen, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 3. The Drive wasted no time on getting on the board in this one, plating two runs in the first on a Keury De La Cruz RBI double and a throwing error that allowed De La Cruz to scamper home after stealing third base. A De La Cruz bases loaded walk in the second and a Drew Turocy RBI double in the third gave Greenville a 4-0 lead. Leading 4-3 in the sixth, the Drive scored two on a Jose Garcia sacrifice fly and a Garin Cecchini RBI ground out. Ahead 6-4 in the seventh, Greenville opened up the game by bringing home four runs on a Lucas LeBlanc grand slam. LeBlanc added an RBI single in the eighth that gave Greenville an 11-4 lead. The Crawdads would plate a run in the bottom of the eighth and the ninth, but never made much of a threat. LeBlanc was 4 for 5 with the grand slam, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI on the evening to pace the Drive's offense.

The DSL Red Sox continued their hot start to the season with a 5-1 victory over the DSL Rangers (TEX). Dioscar Romero received the start and tossed 4.0 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 walk. Edinxon Pacheco added an inning of relief, allowing an unearned run on 1 hit and 1 walk. Ricardo Betancourt received the victory for his 3.0 innings of work, allowing 4 hits and striking out 2. Leonel Vazquez also added a scoreless inning of relief, allowing 1 hit. With the game scoreless in the third, Raymel Flores laced a triple and came home on Andres Garcia's RBI ground out to give the Red Sox a 1-0 advantage. In the fourth, a Roberto Duncan RBI double and a run scoring throwing error opened up the Red Sox lead, 3-0. Leading 3-1 in the ninth, Garcia's 2 RBI triple gave the DSL squad some more breathing room by providing a 5-1 lead. The Red Sox brought home the victory despite being just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Player of the Night: Lucas LeBlanc, who went 4 for 5 with a grand slam, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI in Greenville's 11-6 victory over Hickory.