May 29, 2014 at 8:37 AM
5/29 Cup of Coffee: PawSox prevailed while Portland dropped both halves of a doubleheader. A late rally propelled Greenville while Salem's late-inning comeback attempt fell short.
Led by a strong performance from starting pitcher Chris Hernandez (Pictured), the PawSox downed the Gwinnett Braves (ATL) Wednesday by a score of 3-0. The left-hander, who moved to 2-5 on the season with the win, struck out eight batters and yielded only three hits and three walks in seven strong innings. Despite Hernandez' dominance on the mound, the game was 0-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. The PawSox, thanks in part to an error, scored three runs in the inning, which turned out to be the only scoring in the game.
PawSox outfielder Shannon Wilkerson drove in the first run of the game on an RBI-double. Wilkerson would come around to score on Ryan Roberts single, which also plated Dan Butler. Roberts, who batted leadoff, was the best individual performer going 2 for 4 with two RBI and a stolen base.
The Portland Sea Dogs were unable to hold on to a lead in Wednesday's 9-8 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). The high scoring affair was the first of a doubleheader between the two teams. The scoring came early and often in this contest as both starting pitchers gave up more than five earned runs each and combined to pitch less than two innings. Sea Dogs starter Miguel Pena lasted only 1/3 of inning, surrendering five runs on five hits and two walks.
Down 5-1 heading into the second inning, the Sea Dogs offense erupted by scoring six runs in the bottom of the second. The frame was highlighted by a pair of two-run doubles from Bo Greenwell and Blake Swihart, who both amassed three hits each on the day. The Sea Dogs would hold the lead until the top of the ninth inning. With the score 8-7, the Rock Cats scored two runs off Miguel Celestino, which ultimately decided the contest.
The Sea Dogs also dropped the second contest by a score of 4-2. In that seven-inning game, it was the Rock Cats who led while the Sea Dogs attempted to come back. A late rally that cut the Rock Cats' lead in half came up short, however, as three Sea Dogs left the tying runs on the second and third base to end the game. The inning began with a Matt Spring double and a pair of singles from Heiker Meneses and Derek Gibson. Following Gibson, Peter Hissey doubled, which brought the score to 4-2. After a pitching change, the Sea Dogs 1-2-3 hitters were retired in order, ending the game.
The Sea Dogs starter in game two was Mike Aguilera, who gave up four runs in six innings and yielded eight hits while striking out two.
The Salem Red Sox fell to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Wednesday by a score of 5-2 (TEX). The Pelicans jumped out to an early lead, scoring runs in the first and fifth innings of the game. With the score 2-0, the Pelicans grabbed three more off reliever Kyle Stroup, making the score 5-0. Salem would get two runs back in the top of the eighth inning thanks to a Jonathan Roof two-run home run, his fourth of the season, but that would be the only scoring on the day. Roof collected three of Salem's five hits on the evening.
Salem starter Simon Mercedes was good in the losing effort and yielded only two runs (one earned) in six innings of work. Mercedes gave up only three hits and two walks in the game.
The Greenville Drive topped the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) Wednesday by a score of 7-5. After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, the Drive quickly found themselves in a hole after giving up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. They would slowly claw their way back into the game, however. The Drive tied the game with a three-run top of the sixth inning that was highlighted by four consecutive hits, three of them singles.
With the game tied entering the top of the eighth inning, Drive third baseman and cleanup hitter Carlos Asuaje smashed a two-run home run, his fourth of the season, which gave the Drive the lead for good.
Player of the Day: Although he was not the late-inning hero, Jantzen Witte's (pictured) strong performance did help the Greenville Drive win their contest Wednesday . Witte was 2 for 4 with three runs scored and three RBI in the game, and he picked up his fifth home run of the season on a solo shot in the first inning. The 24-year-old infielder has put together a strong 2014 campaign, producing a slash line of .347/.439/.566. Despite limited home run production so far, Witte has tagged 21 doubles, which leads the South Atlantic League.
Photo Credit: Chris Hernandez and Jantzen Witte by Kelly O'Connor.
Luke Lavoie is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.