April 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM
4/24 Cup of Coffee: Greenville walked off to their fifth straight win in a row on a Derek Miller RBI single. Salem tallied a dozen hits in its victory and Joe Gunkel (pictured, left) picked up the win in a perfect long relief appearance on Thursday.
The start of the PawSox's four-game series against the Yankees AAA affiliate was postponed due to "unplayable field conditions" from a wintry mix that hit the Scranton area on Thursday. Pawtucket will play a doubleheader on Saturday now. Henry Owens will get the start for the PawSox on Friday night.
The Thunder were all over Portland starting pitcher Mike Augliera on Thursday, chasing him after he surrendered five runs on 11 hits and five walks in just 4 1/3 innings. Jonathan Aro and Dayan Diaz stopped the bleeding out of the pen, holding Trenton to just two hits in the final 4 2/3 innings.
The Portland lineup had no answer for Trenton pitching, striking out 14 times while collecting only six hits, none of which went for extra bases. The Sea Dogs left 11 men on base and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Salem rode a four-run first inning to victory on Thursday with Joe Gunkel picking up the win after Trey Ball could not escape the fifth inning. Ball was done in by a three-run home run in the fifth inning. He gave up four earned runs on four hits, striking out four and walking a pair. Gunkel was perfect in 4 1/3 spectacular innings of relief, not allowing a hit or a walk and striking out five. Gunkel was so dominant that only two of the 13 outs he recorded left the infield.
Catcher Jake Romanski and shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin each went 3 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored. The duo provided all of the runs in the four-run first. Cole Sturgeon hit his first home run of the season on a solo shot in the second. Manuel Margot went 1 for 5 with a run scored and is hitting .340 so far.
Greenville came from behind twice to nip the Tourists on a walk-off RBI single by center fielder Derek Miller, who had been held hitless up to that point. Javier Guerra tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run triple. After falling behind in the top of the eight, Rafael Devers knotted the game up again on an RBI groundout. Devers was 3 for 4 on the night to raise his average to .307. An Asheville error in the bottom of the ninth set up Miller's two-out heroics. Mauricio Dubon is now hitting .377 after going 2 for 4.
Jalen Beeks threw five solid innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out one. Williams Jerez struck out six of the 12 batters he faced in three innings of relief, allowing just one run on a double steal.
Player of the Night: Joe Gunkel lowered his ERA to 1.69 in 10 2/3 innings pitched this season after mowing down all 13 batters he faced. It was the fourth appearance of the year for the 23-year-old right-hander and the third outing out of the bullpen. The 6-foot-6 Gunkel was drafted by the Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2013 draft.
Photo Credit: Joe Gunkel by Kelly O'Connor