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April 27, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Murphy fires gem; Northcut homers twice


4/27 Cup of Coffee
: Only two of the four affiliates were able to kick off their series as scheduled Tuesday, as rain pushed back both the Worcester and Salem contests. Portland dropped its opener in New Jersey in extra innings, wasting a masterful effort by starter Chris Murphy (pictured). Greenville also fell, as two Nick Northcut round-trippers were not enough to take a slugfest in Hickory.

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Worcester Red Sox vs Buffalo Bisons (TOR), PPD (Weather)
After a weird 2021 split between Buffalo and Trenton, the Bisons are nomads no more, but their series opener in Worcester will have to wait a day. The teams will try for a doubleheader tomorrow. 

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Portland's four-game winning streak was halted despite the work of Chris Murphy. The left-hander allowed just two hits across six scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one. He lowered his ERA through four starts on the young season to 2.25, but he is still in search of his first win. After Somerset tagged Chase Shugart for a single run in the seventh, Frank German continued his ownership of Eastern League batters. He struck out two of the three batters he saw, giving him 15 punchouts through eight innings on the season. In his last four appearances, German has faced 19 batters, striking out 13 and allowing just one baserunner when he hit a batter. Somerset walked off with the win when a single off Oddanier Mosqueda plated the automatic runner in the 10th.

It was a tough day for Portland at the plate, going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 runners on base. Izzy Wilson and Elih Marrero had a double apiece, accounting for the Sea Dogs' only extra base hits. David Hamilton singled, and walked, adding two stolen bases to bring his league-leading total to 12. Devlin Granberg reached base three times, going 1 for 3 with two walks.

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A pair of Nick Northcut solo homers wasn't enough to put the Drive over the top in their series-opening slugfest. The 23-year-old went deep in the fifth to tie the score at 1-1, then again as part of a five-run seventh inning. Stephen Scott added a double, walk, and stolen base as part of a 2-for-3 evening. Joe Davis went deep, his third homer of the season on only his fourth hit. Gilberto Jimenez also notched a double. Brian Van Belle got the start for Greenville, allowing six runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 frames, striking out four without issuing a walk. He appeared to be primed for a quality start, but things turned quickly with two outs in the sixth when he allowed a homer, single, and homer in quick succession, pulling the plug on his night.

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Salem Red Sox vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE), PPD (Weather)
Following a tough homestand, Salem looked to get back on track on the road. That will have to wait one more day, with Tuesday's rainout now scheduled as part of a Wednesday doubleheader.

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Player of the Day: The Portland pitching staff has been a highlight of the system this year, with a rotation featuring four of the organization's top 15 prospects. Chris Murphy, a sixth-round pick in 2019, has posted big strikeout numbers throughout his time in the system. He now has 71 in 53 Double-A innings since his promotion last summer. In 20 innings so far in 2022, Murphy has a 2.25 ERA and strong 0.950 WHIP.

Photo Credit: Chris Murphy by Kelly O'Connor