August 28, 2015 at 7:00 AM
8/28 Cup of Coffee: The Greenville offense erupted on Thursday, powered by a pair of home runs from Nick Longhi (pictured) and J.T. Watkins to pull within a half-game of Asheville in the South Atlantic League Wild Card race. The PawSox came out on the winning end of a pitchers duel, getting a stellar outing from the recently re-signed Rich Hill. The Spinners suffered one of their toughest losses of the year in extra innings, hurting their playoff chances.
Pawtucket Red Sox 1, Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 0
Rich Hill was absolutely dominant in the third start of his second stint with the Red Sox organization. Hill scattered four hits over six shutout innings while striking out eight and walking three. Primarily a reliever for most of his career, this is the most starts Hill has made since he made six starts across three levels in the Red Sox system in 2012. Jonathan Aro pitched two innings of shutout relief and Ryan Cook picked up the save. Allen Craig went 2 for 4 and Marco Hernandez drove in the game's lone run.
New Britain Rock Cats (COL) 6, Portland Sea Dogs 2
The Sea Dogs were held hitless by New Britain's starter and could not mount a comeback against Rock Cats' relief. Manuel Margot was the only Sea Dog to have any sort of success at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Margot struggled on the basepaths, however, getting caught stealing and picked off. Carlos Asuaje collected Portland's lone RBI, going 1 for 3. Mike McCarthy suffered his eighth loss of the season, giving up five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out three.
Salem Red Sox 5, Potomac Nationals (WAS) 2
Salem got an excellent start from Kevin McAvoy against Potomac to pick up his 10th win of the season. McAvoy allowed just one run on five hits while striking out five and walking two. Kyle Kaminska picked up the save with two innings of relief, allowing one ninth-inning run. Franklin Guzman had a big night at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a solo home run. Wendell Rijo drove in the eventual game-winning runs in the seventh with a two-run single. He went 2 for 4.
Greenville Drive 10, Greensboro Grasshoppers (MIA) 2
The Drive pulled to within a half-game of Asheville in the South Atlantic League Wild Card race thanks to a 10-run, 12-hit performance. Greenville was also aided by three Greensboro errors. Michael Chavis gave Greenville all the runs it would need in the third inning on a RBI triple and then scoring on a wild pitch. Nick Longhi put the game out of reach with a monster two-run home run in the seventh. He finished 2 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. J.T. Watkins ended a season-long power drought, hitting his first home run of the season three batters later. Yoan Moncada had another solid night - an increasingly common occurrence - going 2 for 5 with three runs scored and three more stolen bases. Moncada now has swiped 44 bases on the season. Andrew Benintendi went 1 for 3 with one RBI. Dedgar Jimenez turned in a quality start, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out six and walking only one.
Connecticut Tigers (DET) 3, Lowell Spinners 2 (12 inn.)
The Spinners suffered arguably its toughest loss of the season in the heat of a playoff hunt. Austin Rei drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th with a RBI single. After getting a quick out to start the bottom of the frame, Taylor Nunez gave up back-to-back singles and then the game-winning two-run double. The Spinners lost an opportunity to gain ground on division leader Tri-City, whom they trail by 2.5 games.
GCL Red Sox vs. GCL Orioles (Cancelled)
With just two games remaining in the regular season and playoff fates already decided, Thursday's GCL rainout will not be made up.
Player of the Night: With 11 games to play, Greenville is in a prime position to make the South Atlantic League playoffs. Nick Longhi had his biggest night in almost three weeks to help power the Drive to the win. Longhi launched his homer 392 feet over the Greenville Green Monster, according to the Drive Twitter account, for his seventh of the year. The 20-year-old first baseman is hitting .277/.336/.397 on the year.
Photo Credit: Nick Longhi by Kelly O'Connor