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April 16, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bonaci, Ugueto set table for Salem in rout


4/16 Cup of Coffee:
Not to be lost in the festivities of opening day at Fenway Park was a busy day on the farm, with all four affiliates in action. Worcester suffered just its second loss of the season but rallied to salvage a split in its twinbill. Brainer Bonaci and Miguel Ugueto (pictured) combined to reach base nine times atop the Salem order in another rout. Portland also emerged victorious despite a quiet day at the plate as Victor Santos was excellent on the mound. Greenville was the only affiliate not to record a win despite the continued efforts of Matthew Lugo

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The WooSox five-game winning streak came to an end in the makeup of Thursday's rained-out contest. Josh Winckowski got the start, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in five innings, striking out two against three walks. Lehigh Valley reached Durbin Feltman for four runs in two innings of work. Ryan Fitzgerald continues to be a catalyst at the top of the lineup, going 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBI. Jeter Downs blasted a solo homer in the first, his second round-tripper of the young season. Christin Stewart and Yolmer Sanchez both doubled as part of two-hit efforts. 

A six-run first inning gave the WooSox a comfortable cushion as they earned a split at Polar Park. Franchy Cordero led the offense, going 2 for 3 with two doubles, scoring a run and driving in another. Downs also had a pair of hits, adding a stolen base. A bases-clearing double by Ronaldo Hernandez was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Roberto Ramos

Worcester used six pitchers to get through the nightcap. Eduard Bazardo, outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, got the win with a perfect 1 1/3 innings, striking out three. Tyler Danish also struck out all three batters he faced.

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The Portland rotation continues to be outstanding. Friday's turn went to Victor Santos, as the 21-year-old righty allowed one run on four hits in six innings to pick up the win. He struck out five while walking one and threw 58 of 79 pitches for strikes. Jacob Wallace struck out four batters in two innings of work, allowing one run on a solo homer. Chase Shugart pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the save, his first as a professional after working exclusively as a starter through 2021. 

At the plate, Portland managed just five hits off a trio of Senator hurlers. Will Dalton had the only multi-hit effort, going 2 for 3 with a walk, run scored, and RBI. David Hamilton drove in a pair as part of a 1-for-4 night out of the leadoff spot. A fifth-inning double by Elih Marrero was Portland's lone extra-base hit.

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Asheville picked up its first win of the season at Greenville's expense. Shane Drohan took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits in five innings, striking out six and walking three. Ceddanne Rafaela blasted his third home run of the season, a seventh-inning solo shot. Nick Northcut also went deep and added a double on the night. Matthew Lugo is off to a scorching start. He singled and stole a base Friday and is now 13 for 28 with at least one hit in each game he's appeared. Tyler McDonough looks to be getting back on track, submitting his third straight multi-hit game after starting the season in an 0-for-14 rut.

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Even with top prospects Marcelo Mayer and Blaze Jordan getting the night off, the Salem lineup continues to roll. The Sox plated another 11 runs Friday and are averaging 8.3 per game through seven contests. Leadoff hitter Brainer Bonaci worked four walks for the second time on the year, giving him 11 free passes on the season. He also singled, stole a base, drove in a run, and scored a pair. Bonaci made sure there were plenty of opportunities for Miguel Ugueto in the second hole, and the 19-year-old made sure to take advantage. Ugueto doubled as part of a 4-for-6 evening, driving in four runs and scoring another. Nathan Hickey doubled as part of a two-hit night, and Yorberto Mejicano slammed his first home run of the year.

On the mound, starter Angel Bastardo went four frames, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three and walking one. Maceo Campbell pitched a scoreless fifth inning to get credit for the win. Jacob Webb closed out the win, striking out three in a perfect 1 1/3. 

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Player of the Day: Miguel Ugueto was unheralded after signing to a $10,000 bonus out of Venezuela in August 2019, but thus far he has hit consistently during his pro career. Coming off the lost 2020 campaign, Ugueto was the top hitter for the FCL Red Sox last summer, hitting .331/.370/.528 in 135 plate appearances. With his 4-for-6 effort Friday, he is now 9 for 27 to start off 2022. 

Photo Credit: Miguel Ugueto by Kelly O'Connor