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June 24, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Matheny homers twice in twinbill; Duran goes deep again

6/24 Cup of Coffee:
The affiliates' luck flipped following Tuesday's system-wide sweep. Portland got the only victory of the day, taking the opener of its doubleheader, aided by a Tate Matheny (pictured) round-tripper. Matheny went deep again in the nightcap but little else went right for a Portland lineup that did not record a hit until the sixth inning. Worcester suffered a rare loss, but Jarren Duran homered as usual. Greenville and Salem both clawed back in their contests only to fall in the 10th inning. 


Worcester fell for just the second time in its last 14 contests despite an 11-hit effort. Unsurprisingly, one of those hits was yet another home run off the bat of Jarren Duran, his sixth in just 12 games. Duran also singled and walked during the Wednesday matinee. Marcus Wilson reached base four times, going 3 for 4 with a walk. Tanner Houck surrendered a home run to the game's leadoff batter but settled in for a solid outing. He went 3 2/3, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out six without issuing a walk, and inducing four groundouts. Kaleb Ort surrendered a crooked number for the first time in his 18 WooSox appearances. Ort gave up two runs on four hits in the eighth as his ERA ballooned to 1.29. 


On Xander Bogaerts Bobblehead Day, a four-run fifth inning highlighted by a Tate Matheny homer sealed Portland's first contest against the Yankees' new Double-A affiliate. Triston Casas had a hit and a walk, while Devlin Granberg scored twice and stole a base as part of a 2-for-3 effort. Josh Winckowski allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings, striking out an impressive nine batters without allowing a walk. Denyi Reyes and Durbin Feltman added a scoreless inning apiece, with Feltman getting credit for his first save of the year.

It was a tough go in the nightcap for Portland, as Somerset hurler Ken Waldichuk carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. A single by Hudson Potts broke up the no-hit bid and was immediately followed by another Matheny homer to spoil the shutout. Casas again walked and singled, while Granberg had his first hitless appearance since last week's promotion from Greenville. Enmanuel De Jesus had a forgettable start, giving up six runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings. 


A three-run rally in the ninth inning knotted the contest at 5-5, but Greensboro prevailed in a 10th-inning walk-off. All of Greenville's runs came via the long ball, as Nick Sogard and Kole Cottam both went deep in the ninth-inning rally after Tyler Dearden opened the scoring with a two-run shot in the fourth. Dearden also added a double and a walk on the afternoon. A three-game homer streak came to an end for Brandon Howlett, but he did extend his hitting streak to five games with a single. Chris Murphy allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits in 5 2/3, striking out six without walking a batter. 


Mirroring its High-A counterpart, Salem's comeback went for naught as the Sox fell in extras. Bradley Blalock turned in a solid start, allowing one run on two hits in four innings, striking out three and walking two. Devon Roedahl pitched well out of the bullpen, spreading two hits across 2 1/3, striking out three. Nick Yorke ripped his eighth double of the season, six of which have come in the month of June. Jaxx Groshans continues to be a force at the plate, going 2 for 3 with two walks. 


Player of the Day: After getting lost in the shuffle on the Worcester bench, Tate Matheny has been excellent in his regroup with Portland. The two homers in Wednesday's doubleheader give Matheny four over his last five games and raises his slash line to a robust .326/.420/.744 in 12 contests with the Sea Dogs. His six home runs across two levels are just two short of the career-high he set in 2019.

Photo Credit: Tate Matheny by Kelly O'Connor