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April 21, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Duran leads offensive explosion; Scherff sharp again

4/21 Cup of Coffee: With two postponements Friday night, it was another busy day for the Red Sox affiliates. Salem was the lone winner Saturday night with an offensive outburst lead by Jarren Duran (pictured) and Dylan Hardy. In Greenville, Alex Scherff (pictured) continued his promising start to the season as the Drive lost in heartbreaking fashion.

Syracuse Mets (NYM) 5, Pawtucket Red Sox 2
Despite having seven batters reach base, the PawSox were unable to get much going in the first game of their doubleheader with Syracuse. Batting cleanup, Sam Travis drove in both of Pawtucket's runs with a third-inning single. Josh Ockimey had a solid night at the plate, collecting two hits while Gorkys Hernandez and Mike Miller each singled and scored a run. Josh Smith only had to pitch six innings to go the distance for Pawtucket, but his uneven performance wasn't enough to lift the PawSox. Despite striking out six and only walking one batter, Smith was tagged for eight hits and allowed five runs (three earned) to collect his first loss of 2019.


In another low scoring affair, Pawtucket's Ryan Weber was outlasted by fellow veteran Zach Lee. Weber was solid Saturday night, allowing three earned runs in six innings of work while striking out three. In the second game of the doubleheader, the PawSox offense struggled once again, with only five batters reaching base on the night. Pawtucket again failed to collect an extra-base hit, and only Gorkys Hernandez reached base more than once with his two singles. Jantzen Witte singled and drove in a run and catcher Jake Romanski singled and scored a run. It was altogether a forgettable day for Pawtucket and they will look to salvage their series with Syracuse tomorrow night.


Portland Sea Dogs vs. Trenton Thunder (NYY) PPD (inclement weather)
The Sea Dogs once again had their game postponed, their sixth game either postponed or suspended due to weather in April thus far. The game will be made up on Tuesday, July 2.


Poor fielding proved to be the difference in this game, as errors led to three unearned runs for Enmannuel De Jesus. De Jesus did not help his own cause by allowing two earned runs on six hits and three walks in just 2 2/3 innings and paid the price with his third loss of the season. Dominic LoBrutto was much sharper in relief, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing only one unearned run while striking out three batters to close out the seven-inning game. Jagger Rusconi and Ryan Fitzgerald lead the way on offense. Rusconi drove in two runs with an RBI single and also walked, while Fitzgerald walked twice and singled, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Pedro Castellanos and Kervin Suarez also chipped in with RBI singles of their own. Marco Hernandez began his rehab assignment tonight, starting the whole game at second base and singling as part of a 1-for-4 night.


The Salem lineup quickly put their frustrations behind them by going on an offensive torrent in game two of Saturday night's doubleheader. Jarren Duran kicked things off in style by hammering a triple that nearly got out of the park to start off the game. Duran was far from finished however as he would go on to double, single, and walk to come up a home run shy of the cycle. Not to be outdone, Dylan Hardy launched two home runs, including a third-inning grand slam that broke open the game for the Red Sox. Deiner Lopez did his part by adding two RBI's of his own and also scored two runs. 

On the mound Daniel Gonzales was excellent, going six scoreless innings and striking out two in order to earn his first win of the season. Jake Cosart closed things out by pitching one inning of one-run ball. SoxProspects' own Chris Hatfield (@SPChrisHatfield) was in attendance for both games of the doubleheader and you can read his observations on Twitter, as well as listen to his Game Update on Patreon (available to $2 patrons and higher).


A bullpen meltdown cost Greenville the sweep in their series against Rome, but several notable prospects put in strong performances. Alex Scherff got the start and put in his second strong start of the season. The right-hander went five innings, allowing only one run and striking out three to lower his ERA to 2.77. Yoan Aybar then came on in relief and allowed an unearned run in his lone inning of work. The task of closing out the game fell to Hunter Haworth, who struck out three across three innings out of the bullpen, but unfortunately surrendered a three-run home run with two out in the eighth that proved to be the difference. Offensively, Kole Cottam had a great night, launching a solo home run and a double while driving in two, while Devlin Granberg smacked a home run of his own. Brandon Howlett collected his third double of the year and Grant Williams added an RBI triple in the Greenville loss.


Player of the Night: It seems like not a day goes by with Jarren Duran doing something of note, and today was no different. The 2018 draftee has been red hot to begin the season and continued that trend by coming up a home run shy of the cycle and raising his average to .386 on the young season. Duran ranks 13th on the SoxProspects rankings and will look to continue his meteoric rise up the system rankings with his strong performance.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran and Alex Scherff by Kelly O'Connor