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May 15, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ockimey homers twice, Ward shuts down Hickory

5/15 Cup of Coffee: All four affiliates came up empty on Tuesday night, but there were still several good performances. Josh Ockimey led the way with his two home runs for Pawtucket, and Jarren Duran was on base two more times for Salem. On the pitching side Thaddeus Ward and Eduard Bazardo continued to be two of the most impressive pitchers in the system. 


With Bobby Dalbec on his heels, Josh Ockimey hit two more home runs to extend his system lead, but it was not enough for the PawSox. Ockimey now has 10 home runs on the season and he also walked twice as he pushed his OPS up over 1.000. The rest of the offense struggled, with the only other run coming across on a Gorkys Hernandez grondout. 

Erasmo Ramirez got the start and allowed two solo home runs over 5 2/3 innings, and he left with two men on base. Travis Lakins was able to work out of the jam but then walked the bases loaded in the next inning before being replaced by Domingo Tapia. Tapia allowed only a sacrifice fly, but then he gave up three singles in the next inning as the Clippers tied the game up. The game went to extra innings where Trevor Kelley allowed the runner who started on second base to score after two singles and that proved to be the difference. The game ended with two men on and Ockimey on deck. 


It was another rough start for Denyi Reyes who dropped to 0-5 and saw his ERA rise to an even 6.00. Reyes threw 100 pitches but was not able to get out of the fifth inning, going 4 2/3 while giving up five runs, four earned, on nine hits. The Red Sox added Reyes to the 40-man roster in the offseason and left Ockimey unprotected, but the two players have gone in completely different directions this season. Durbin Feltman came on for two innings of relief, and allowed one run on three hits while striking out three and walking one. 

The Sea Dogs managed only five hits and struck out 13 times on a cold day at Hadlock Field. Dalbec went 1 for 4 with a double and a strikeout, and Tate Matheny went 1 for 2 with a double and a walk.


Fayetteville Woodpeckers (HOU) 10, Salem Red Sox 8
Salem managed to score eight runs on only six hits, but their pitching staff struggled as they allowed 10 runs over the first four innings. Jhonathan Diaz and Alex Demchak each allowed five runs, but Eduard Bazardo turned in another dominant relief performance as he struck out five over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Over his last eight innings he has allowed three hits and struck out 15 without issuing a walk.

Unsurprisingly Jarren Duran had one of Salem's six hits, as he went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and two RBI. Brian Bannister shared a video of the double, and you can see how Duran uses his elite speed to his advantage. Pedro Castellanos drove in four runs for Salem, with one coming on a sacrifice fly, one on a single, and two on a fielder's choice, with Duran scoring from second on that one. 


Hickory Crawdads (TEX) 4, Greenville Drive 3 (12 innings)
This game started as a pitcher's duel as it was scoreless until the 10th inning. Thaddeus Ward got the start for the Drive and shut down the Crawdads over his 7 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out seven. The 2018 fifth-round pick lowered his ERA to 2.91 and he has now struck out 51 batters over 43 1/3 innings. Rio Gomez followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Logan Browning took the loss after allowing four runs in extras.

The main offensive spark was Tyler Esplin who had three of Greenville's seven hits. He finished the day going 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI. Triston Casas went 1 for 4 with an RBI double, a walk, and a run scored in the losing effort. 


Player of the Night: While Thaddeus Ward certainly deserves recognition for his strong start, Josh Ockimey launching two home runs and reaching base in all four plate appearances was too good to pass up. Ockimey is now fourth in the International League with 10 home runs, and he already has three multi-homer games this year. Five of his home runs have come in his last 11 at-bats, as he is totally locked in at the plate. He struggled in Pawtucket following his promotion in 2018, but he has made strides in 2019, and he is back climbing the system rankings. The main cause for concern at this point is his high strikeout rate, and it will be interesting to see if he can lower that while maintaining his power output. 

Photo credit: Josh Ockimey by Kelly O'Connor