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June 7, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Taylor strikes out 10, Ball roughed up

6/7 Cup of Coffee: It was a mixed bag on the mound last night, with Ben Taylor (pictured) and Justin Haley having dominant outings, Trey Ball getting pulled in the first inning, and Henry Owens limiting the damage while still fighting his control. Both DSL squads won for the second consecutive day, and Salem's offense could not capitalize on its patience.


Pawtucket Red Sox 2, Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 1
It was a promising start for Henry Owens, as he looks to rebound from a rocky May. Owens went the first 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits, with the lone run scoring on a solo home run. Owens struck out six, but also walked three as he continues to battle with his control. Since being sent back down to Pawtucket in early May, Owens has walked 23 over 32 innings, but he has shown modest improvement over his last two outings. Anthony Varvaro and Pat Light combined to throw the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing only two baserunners while striking out five.

Pawtucket scored a run in the first inning on a Chris Dominguez single, and they scored again in the sixth on sacrifice fly from Dominguez that proved to be the game-winner. Chris Marrero was the only PawSox player to reach base multiple times as he walked twice, with one of those being intentional.


Justin Haley's roll through the Eastern League continued yesterday, as he fired six scoreless innings to lead the Sea Dogs. Haley walked one and allowed only two hits while striking out six to earn his fifth victory of the season. Over his last three starts, he has allowed only two runs over 19 innings, while walking three and striking out 19. Chandler Shepherd finished off the shutout with a scoreless inning of relief.

Seven different Portland batters contributed to the 10-hit attack, led by Ryan Court who went 2 for 4 with three RBI. He broke the game open with a two-run single in the seventh that pushed the final two runs across for Portland. The two hits extended his hitting streak to 10 games, but that ultimately came to an end in the second game of the doubleheader. Wendell Rijo went 2 for 3 with two doubles, Nate Freiman added a solo home run, and Andrew Benintendi went 1 for 4 with a double.

Portland's pitching stayed on point, but the offense could not get anything going in the second game. It was a bullpen game for the Sea Dogs, with Austin Maddox making his first start since 2013, tossing three scoreless innings while allowing only one baserunner. He struck out four and threw 31 of his 41 pitches for strikes. Williams Jerez followed with two perfect innings, striking out three, and Jake Drehoff pitched a scoreless sixth inning before allowing a walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

The Sea Dogs managed only two hits, with Tzu-Wei Lin and Aneury Tavarez both hitting singles. The seven-inning game was played in a brisk one hour and 35 minutes.


Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE) 13, Salem Red Sox 5
After a promising start to the season, Trey Ball had a disastrous performance last night. The left-hander needed 40 pitches to record two outs, surrendering six runs, three earned, before being pulled from the game. After the first batter reached on an error, a walk and a single loaded the bases and the next batter cleared them with a grand slam. Ball walked two and struck out one as his ERA rose to 2.95.

Ben Taylor was the only pitcher who could keep Salem in the game last night, as he struck out 10 and walked one over four shutout innings. He struck out the side twice as he soared past his previous career-high for strikeouts in a game.

Salem's offense only managed seven hits, but the team drew nine walks to give them plenty of scoring opportunities. Unfortunately they could not capitalize, as they went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. Jordan Betts went 2 for 2 with two doubles and two walks, Rafael Devers drew three walks, and Yoan Moncada and Nick Longhi each had a single and a walk.


Greenville's game at Kannapolis (CWS) was rained out, and the teams will play a doubleheader today beginning at 5 p.m.


The first DSL squad improved to 2-0, with another solid pitching performance leading the way. Edilson Batista picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits over five innings, striking out four without walking a batter. Eduard Bazardo struck out four over three hitless innings, and Juan Florentino allowed one run in his lone inning of work. 

The offense was led by Carlos Pulido, who went 3 for 3 with an RBI and is now 5 for 9 in his second spin through the DSL. Willis Figueroa went 1 for 3 with a walk, RBI, and two runs scored, and Eduardo Torrealba went 1 for 3 with an RBI.


It was an impressive performance from the pitching staff for the second Red Sox squad, as five pitchers combined to toss 13 scoreless innings. Yorvin Pantoja fired the first five innings,  walking one and striking out three, and he was followed by Rayniel Moreno who allowed one hit over two innings. Warlyn Guzman went the next four innings, allowing one hit while striking out two, and then Shair Lacrus and Joan Martinez each threw a scoreless inning to keep the second Philadelphia squad off the board.

The offense did not get on the board until the top of the 13th, when Everlouis Lozada hit an RBI double and came around to score on an error. Lozada and Pedro Castellanos each went 2 for 6, and Ronaldo Pulgar went 2 for 5.


Player of the Night: Typically a pitcher for a team that gives up 11 runs is unlikely to win Player of the Night, but Ben Taylor was that dominant last night. 10 of his 12 outs came via strikeout, as he was the only Salem pitcher to have success against the Hillcats. A seventh-round pick in last year's draft, Taylor has made quick work of the Carolina League, as he currently holds a 2.20 ERA while striking out 51 over 41 innings. The 23-year-old has racked up strikeouts at an impressive rate since entering the system, with his polished arsenal proving to be too much for the lower minors. 

Photo Credit: Ben Taylor by Kelly O'Connor