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April 22, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Casas homers, Potts finishes triple shy of cycle, Mayer collects four hits


4/22 Cup of Coffee: It was an eventful night for Boston's minor-league affiliates, who went a collective 1-3 on Thursday. Triston Casas and Ryan Fitzgerald both homered for Worcester, Hudson Potts (pictured) went deep twice and finished a triple shy of the cycle while Tyreque Reed got involved in a benches-clearing brawl in Portland, Shane Drohan struck out eight for Greenville, and Marcelo Mayer hit a pair of doubles as part of a four-hit day in Salem. 

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Darwinzon Hernandez made his fourth start of the season for Worcester and struggled with his command. The left-hander surrendered five earned runs on just one hit, but also four walks and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over 1 2/3 innings of work. Only 22 of the 45 pitches Hernandez threw went for strikes. Out of Worcester's bullpen, John Schreiber allowed one of the runners he inherited to score in the second. The right-hander settled in, though, and the only other run scored off him came on a Daniel Palka home run in the fifth. An inning later, Geoff Hartlieb got rocked for four runs on three hits and one walk. Eduard Bazardo and Derek Holland closed things out with a scoreless frame each. 

Offensively, Worcester scored all eight of their runs by way of the long ball. Yolmer Sanchez took Syracuse starter Jose Rodriguez deep to right field to lead off the third inning. Ryan Fitzgerald followed suit by crushing a two-run blast in the fourth for his fifth homer of the season. Triston Casas went to the deepest part of NBT Bank Stadium for his fourth big fly of 2022 to lead off the fifth. Christin Stewart then made things somewhat interesting in the ninth by clubbing a three-run home run off Eric Orze. Stewart's second homer of the year cut Syracuse's lead to 10-8, though Worcester ultimately came up short in their comeback attempt. 

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Christian Koss and Hudson Potts accounted for nine of the 12 runs Portland hitters drove in on Thursday. Koss, batting second, went 3 for 5 with a home run, four RBIs, two runs scored, and one stolen base. Potts, batting eighth, went 4 for 5 with a double, two home runs, five RBIs, and three runs scored while finishing a triple shy of the cycle. David Hamilton and Tyreque Reed were both ejected for their involvement in a benches-clearing brawl centered around Reed getting plunked by Binghamton starter Marcel Renteria in the third inning. Their replacements, Cam Cannon and Elih Marrero, went a combined 4 for 6 off the bench. Speaking of catchers, Kole Cottam collected a pair of singles to raise his batting average on the season to .370. 

On the mound, Victor Santos allowed five earned runs on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six innings in his third start of the year for Portland. The 21-year-old got hit hard in both the third and sixth innings but still managed to earn the winning decision. In relief of Santos, Oddanier Mosqueda hurled two scoreless frames and Andrew Politi struck out the side in the ninth to lock down the seven-run victory. 

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Shane Drohan impressed in his third start of the season for Greenville. The 2020 fourth-round draft pick yielded just one unearned run on four hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts across six solid innings of work. Michael Gettys, however, picked up his first loss of the year as he tossed a scoreless seventh inning but served up a solo shot to Duke Ellis in the eighth. Winston-Salem pushed across two more runs off Brendan Cellucci in the ninth while Ryan Fernandez recorded the final two outs of the inning.

A typically explosive Greenville lineup was held in check by the Winston-Salem pitching staff on Thursday. Matthew Lugo scored his side's first and only run in the form of Nick Yorke on an RBI groundout in the first inning. From there, Greenville hitters went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base as a team. The only extra-base hit of the evening belonged to Nick Northcut, who doubled in the fourth inning.

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Salem got off to a quick start on Thursday as Marcelo Mayer hit his first of two doubles and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Niko Kavadas in the first inning. Eddinson Paulino came through with a double of his own in the third, with this one scoring Karson Simas from second base. In the fifth, Mayer ignited a two-out rally with his second double that was followed by back-to-back run-scoring hits from Nathan Hickey and Kavadas. Mayer finished his productive day at the plate having gone 4 for 5 with two runs scored. The 19-year-old is now batting .370 on the young season. Paulino, Kavadas, and Tyler Miller each had two hits themselves.

Wilkelman Gonzalez, making his third start of the season for Salem, had a similar outing to Drohan in which he allowed one unearned run on four hits, three walks, and six strikeouts over four innings pitched. Although the 20-year-old did not factor into Thursday's decision, he has yet to surrender an earned run through his first 11 innings of 2022. After Miguel Suero tossed two scoreless frames in relief of Gonzalez, Attleboro native Nate Tellier kept Charelston off the board in the seventh before walking two of the four batters he faced in the eighth. Osvaldo De La Rosa then came on for Salem and allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a pair of RBI singles. In the ninth, De La Rosa gave up the game-tying hit that sent this one into extra innings. Alexander Montero was charged with the loss after allowing the go-ahead run to score in the 10th: 

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Player of the Day: After losing his spot on Boston's 40-man roster during spring training, Hudson Potts got his 2022 season with Portland off to a cold start. The 23-year-old was hitless as of April 17, but he now has five hits (and two home runs) in his last nine trips to the plate. 

Photo Credit: Hudson Potts by Kelly O'Connor