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April 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Houck earns first win, Hernandez returns to form

4/26 Cup of Coffee: Rain was a big theme on Wednesday, as Salem swept its doubleheader, while Greenville was swept in a twin bill of their own. Both were caused by rainouts on Tuesday, while Portland's game ended early due to weather and Pawtucket's never happened at all. Darwinzon Hernandez (pictured) led Salem in Game 1, and Brett Netzer had two hits in each game for Salem.


Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Toledo Mud Hens (DET), Canceled (Rain)
The PawSox and Mud Hens saw the final game of their three-game get canceled at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The two teams will not meet again this year so the game will not be made up.


In a rain-shortened contest, Portland could only muster three hits, one each from Cole Sturgeon, Lule Tendler and Austin Rei. Mike Shawaryn pitched five-plus innings, and through five, he had allowed only one hit with seven strikeouts. However, after three consecutive singles, the Yard Goats had scored once and had two runners on. On a sacrifice bunt attempt, Shawaryn threw the ball away, and on the next batter, Josh Ockimey made another error, each scoring a run. That was the last play of the game, as the game was called after a rain delay. With hits in five of his last six games, Sturgeon has slashed .369/.447/.569 to begin the year.


The Red Sox swept their first doubleheader since April 21, 2017, also against Frederick, with a shutout in Game 1. Darwinzon Hernandez continued his hot start with five one-hit frames. He struck out six and walked three. Hildemaro Requena pitched two no-hit innings to close it out, walking one and striking out two. Salem was held scoreless in its first two at-bats but scored a run each in the third and fourth, with two more each in the fifth and sixth. Brett Netzer, Jhon Nunez, and Trenton Kemp each added two hits, with Kemp drilling a two-run home run. Nunez also had two RBI.

In the second game, Tanner Houck earned his first professional win in Salem's third straight victory. Houck delivered five two-hit innings, allowing two runs, one of which was earned. He struck out six and walked one. The Keys struck first for a run in the opening frame, but after Tyler Hill scored on a throwing error, Santiago Espinal delivered a two-run double to give the Red Sox the lead for good. Brett Netzer hit 2 for 3 in both games of the doubleheader and Hill hit a bases-clearing double with the bases loaded in the fifth for three valuable insurance runs.


Greenville has now lost 12 consecutive games as Augusta swept the doubleheader on Thursday. The Drive notched just three hits, one each from Pedro Castellanos, Kervin Suarez and Marino Campana. Campana's was a solo home run in the fifth and Suarez had an RBI single in the second. Hunter Haworth had a start to be forgotten, allowing all nine runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked two, struck out four and allowed three home runs. Angel Padron and Alberto Franco each walked one but combined for 4 1/3 no-hit innings. Padron struck out three and Franco punched out two.

The Drive were shut out for the third time in their losing streak as they slightly improved to four hits. Victor Acosta had two of them on a 2-for-3 night. Denyi Reyes allowed seven hits but allowed just two runs to cross the plate. He struck out 10 batters and walked two in just four innings. Lukas Young allowed another run on three hits in three innings of relief, striking out three.


Player of the Day: Darwinzon Hernandez earns the evening's honors after pitching a five-inning shutout against the Keys. The win marks Hernandez's second in four games started this season. His six strikeouts bring him up to 19 across 16 innings of work and also mark the third start in which he has punched out six batters this year. This performance marks something of a bounce-back for Hernandez, who was roughed up for five earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning his last time out.

Photo Credit: Darwinzon Hernandez by Kelly O'Connor