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April 20, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ockimey grand slam leads Sea Dogs

4/20 Cup of Coffee: It was a welcome sight at Portland, as Josh Ockimey (pictured) cleared the bases for his first home run of the year as part of a three-hit night to propel Portland to this win. Tanner Houck struggled in his third start of the season, while Greenville fell against Kannapolis desipte a big night from Michael Osinski.


Two days after making his 2018 debut, Josh Ockimey capped a big afternoon with a 411-foot grand slam for his first homer of the season to propel the Sea Dogs. It was the third hit of the day for Ockimey, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a minor hamstring injury. Cole Sturgeon and Esteban Quiroz have been the offensive catalysts in the early going for Portland, and both contributed on Thursday. The day after his hitting streak ended at nine games, Sturgeon doubled, walked, and scored a pair. Quiroz ripped an RBI double, his seventh extra-base hit in 12 games. 

Bobby Poyner, on the major league disabled list with a hamstring strain, made his first step back with a rehab start. He pitched the first inning, allowing one hit and striking out one. Regularly-scheduled starter Teddy Stankiewicz piggybacked, coming on for the second and delivering six frames of two-hit shutout ball, striking out seven while walking only one.


While new owner Chris Paul is currently occupied with his playoff series against the Timberwolves, the Dash kicked off their three-game set by knocking off Salem. Tanner Houck got the call for the Sox, and the right-hander struggled with his control. He allowed six runs (four earned) on two hits in 1 2/3 walking four of the 12 batters he faced and uncorking a wild pitch. At the plate, Tyler Hill reached four times with a single and three walks, while Jhon Nunez was the only starter to post a multi-hit night, going 2 for 4. 


It continues to be a productive start for Michael Osinski in his first full pro season. The 31st-round pick from last June went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles to bring his early-season line to .381/.480/.524. Fellow 2017 draftee Cole Brannen had gotten off to a much slower start, but is showing signs of warming with his second straight two-hit game. Hunter Haworth was hit hard in the loss, allowing eight runs (four earned) on 11 hits in five innings, but he did strike out six batters without issuing a walk.


Player of the Day: Expectations were high coming into 2018 for Josh Ockimey, coming off a strong season that saw him reach Double-A more quickly than anticipated. The start of his season was delayed with a hamstring tweak, but three games in, the first baseman looked to be up to speed. The third of Ockimey's three hits on the afternoon was a monster grand slam that sealed the Sea Dogs victory. 

Photo Credit: Josh Ockimey by Kelly O'Connor