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August 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ball shuts down Legends, Swihart comes up big

8/11 Cup of Coffee: On a day when the system's top left-handed pitcher struggled, another left-hander took a big step forward, as Trey Ball (pictured) continued to turn the corner in his first full professional season. Blake Swihart was the hero for the PawSox, while the Sea Dogs could not offer Mike Augliera any offensive support for his strong start. 


The PawSox were able to pick Henry Owens up after his tough start, rallying for three runs in the ninth to complete the come-from-behind victory. Owens was cruising through two innings, but he ran into trouble in the third, as the Knights got to him for four runs on five hits. Owens was able to make it through five innings while allowing only those four runs, while striking out five. Dalier Hinojosa and Alex Wilson combined to keep Charlotte off the board with two shutout innings apiece. 

Down 4-3 in the top of the ninth, Blake Swihart drove in two runs with a triple to give the PawSox the lead. He then scored on a sacrifice fly from Justin Henry to add the insurance run. Swihart finished the day 2 for 4, and the triple was his first for Pawtucket. Another first in the game was Deven Marrero launching his first Triple-A home run, while also adding a double and a walk as part of his 2 for 3 performance. Alex Hassan and Travis Shaw also added doubles for the PawSox. 


Facing San Francisco's top prospect Kyle Crick, the Sea Dogs could not muster up any offense. This overshadowed a good start by Mike Augliera who tossed six shutout innings, walking one and striking out five. Dayan Diaz struggled mightily in relief, recording only one out while surrendering four runs on three hits and two walks. On offense, Ryan Dent was the only batter to record multiple hits, going 2 for 4, and Michael Almanzar was also on base twice thanks to two walks. 


Salem was rained out again, and the game will not be made up. 


In his longest outing as a professional, Trey Ball was brilliant, as he stifled the Legends over 6 2/3 shutout innings. Ball allowed only three hits and two walks, while striking out four and moving his ERA down to 4.92. For context, his ERA was 7.27 after his start on June 26, and it was 6.59 exactly one month ago. Mike Adams finished the game off with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball. 

Wendell Rijo supplied all the run support the team would need, launching a two-run home run in the fourth, his eighth of the year. Kevin Mager went 2 for 4 and added a solo home run, and Manuel Margot went 1 for 4 and stole his 37th base of the year. 


The Spinners managed to come out on top in this back-and-forth contest, helping give Jake Drehoff his first win of the season. Drehoff allowed two runs in five innings, walking two and striking out two. Edwar Garcia was shaky, allowing three runs, including a two-run home run, in his two innings of work. Carlos Pinales was able to slam the door on the Crosscutters, picking up his 13th save of the year. 

Mike Meyers, Aneudis Peralta, Deiner Lopez and Mauricio Dubon each had two hits, with Lopez adding a walk and the other three contributing doubles. 


Player of the Day: Many people were down on Trey Ball after his performance over the first few months of the season, but he has since turned his year around and has given fans a reason to be optimistic. In his last 42 2/3 innings, he has allowed only 12 runs, while cutting his walk rate and increasing his strikeout rate. The lanky left-hander seems to be making the necessary adjustments, and will look to continue his success over his final few starts of the year.

Photo Credit: Trey Ball by Kelly O'Connor