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August 2, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Catching prospects shine as Hernández and Groshans homer

8/2 Cup of Coffee:
Every affiliate scored at least six runs, with Worcester and Salem also turning in strong pitching performances. Yairo Muñoz saw his hitting streak continue, while Josh Ockimey homered to lead Worcester. Ronaldo Hernández's home run almost completed a comeback for Portland, and Jaxx Groshans' (pictured) offensive fireworks were not enough for Greenville. Salem had an easy victory on the back of Shane Drohan's outing. 


A day after Chris Sale started for them, the WooSox pitching stayed hot in a lopsided victory. John Schreiber did not allow a run over 3 2/3 innings, and Brandon Brennan tossed two shutout innings. Jose Adames walked two and struck out two in his lone inning of work, and Seth Blair closed things out with a scoreless ninth. Adames has yet to allow a run in his first eight games with Worcester. 

The hit streak extended to 24 games for Yairo Muñoz as he went 1 for 4 with a stolen base. Josh Ockimey hit a solo home run, his 12th, while also adding a single and a walk. Jeter Downs went 0 for 2 but walked twice and stole a base, and Ryan Fitzgerald notched his first hit in four games with Worcester. 


The Sea Dogs almost came all the way back in the ninth, but they came up just short. Entering the inning down four runs, a single from Hudson Potts and back-to-back home runs from Ronaldo Hernández and Tanner Nishioka brought Portland within one run. Wil Dalton later added a double, but he was stranded on second. Dalton had a two-run double earlier in the game, and Nick Sogard added three hits. Enmanuel De Jesus allowed three runs over four innings, and Matthew Kent allowed three runs over three innings in the losing effort. 


August got off to a rough start for Grant Gambrell, as the Crawdads used reinforcements from the Joey Gallo trade to beat the Drive. Gambrell allowed six runs on eight hits over three innings, walking two and striking out four. His ERA rose to 7.16 in 32 2/3 innings with Greenville. The only bright spot on the pitching staff was Zach Bryant, who struck out three over two shutout innings. Bryant has not given up an earned run in his last 13 innings. 

Tyler Dearden and Jaxx Groshans each went 2 for 4 with a home run, and Groshans also added a triple. Joe Davis went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, and Cameron Cannon pushed his hitting streak to 11 games with a single. 


Jonathan Diaz made a big impact in his Salem debut, and Shane Drohan led a great pitching effort. Diaz went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI, and Antoni Flores went 1 for 5 with a three-run home run and a stolen base. Drohan allowed just one run over five innings, striking out five without walking a batter. The lack of walks is encouraging, as Drohan entered the game walking five-and-a-half batters per nine innings. Devon Roedahl and Jordan DiValerio each fired a scoreless inning with a strikeout. 


Player of the Day: Jaxx Groshans drove in four runs while hitting a home run and a triple for Greenville. The performance improved his overall line to .287/.392/.442 in 51 games between Salem and Greenville. The 2019 fifth-round pick has shown a good eye at the plate all year, walking in 15 percent of his plate appearances while striking out 20 percent of the time. The catching prospect is currently ranked 42nd in the system, with only two catchers listed ahead of him. 

Photo Credit: Jaxx Groshans by Kelly O'Connor