April 28, 2014 at 8:49 AM
4/28 Cup of Coffee: With a trio of top pitching prospects going, it was the offense that stole the show on Sunday. The teams combined to score 42 runs over four games, with Greenville and Jantzen Witte (pictured) accounting for half of those, helping Trey Ball get the win in his 2014 debut.
Rubby De La Rosa had his first poor start of the season, as the PawSox fell to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (PHI), 9-7. De La Rosa went the first five innings, allowing six runs, four earned, on four hits, walking three and striking out four. He allowed five runs in the third inning, which was more than he allowed in the whole season prior to yesterday’s start. Chris Hernandez followed him, surrendering three runs in his three innings of work.
Daniel Nava led the way with two hits, including his first home run of the season for the PawSox. Bryce Brentz went 2 for 3 with a double and a triple, and Corey Brown added a solo home run.
Henry Owens was not able to recover from a rocky start, as the Sea Dogs were defeated by the Trenton Thunder (NYY), 6-5. Owens saw his ERA balloon to 3.77 after being touched for six runs in five innings. He allowed nine hits and walked four batters while striking out four. Jose Valdez and Michael Olmsted combined to keep the Thunder off the board over the final four innings to keep the game close.
Mookie Betts kept his on-base streak alive, but his 1 for 5 performance dropped his average down to .405. Travis Shaw went 1 for 4 with a double, and Shannon Wilkerson added two hits and scored two runs.
Despite slugging 13 hits, Salem was clobbered by the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS), 15-9. Luis Diaz was roughed up for six runs in 3 2/3 innings, and Madison Younginger was not able to put out the fire, also allowing six runs despite recording only two outs.
Reed Gragnani led the way on offense, going 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and two RBI. Aneury Tavarez also added two hits including a double, while Mario Martinez connected for his second home run of the year.
Greenville scored three touchdowns to beat the Lexington Legends, 21-6. Trey Ball went five innings in his full-season debut, allowing only three runs despite surrendering nine hits and a walk. He struck out two and threw 49 of his 73 pitches for strikes.
He got the win thanks to a blistering offensive performance by the Drive. The team hit seven doubles, with Jake Romanski leading the way, with two of his four hits going for extra-bases. Jantzen Witte was on base six times, with three hits and three walks, and Kevin Mager drove in four runs on three hits. An astounding eight players had multi-hit games, with four players collecting three or more hits.
Player of the Day: Jantzen Witte had his best game as a professional, leading the Drive to the easy win. The 24-year-old is old for the level, but he has hit .328/.425/.521 in 20 games this season. The 24th-round pick in 2013 out of TCU has already earned the reputation as being a hard worker despite being in the system for less than a year, and so far in 2014, that hard work has turned into great performance.
Photo Credit: Jantzen Witte by Kelly O'Connor