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April 21, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Seabold impresses, Northcut and Rafaela both homer


4/21 Cup of Coffee:
Boston affiliates went 1-4 on an eventful Wednesday night. Worcester lost both games of a doubleheader in Syracuse despite a strong start from Connor Seabold (pictured) in the day cap, Portland fell to Binghamton despite a solid effort from Chris Murphy, Greenville pitchers combined to give up 21 hits in a loss to Charleston in which Nick Northcut and Ceddanne Rafaela both homered, and Salem salvaged the day thanks in part to Jose Garcia's first home run of the season.

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After their series opener was snowed out on Tuesday, Worcester was swept by Syracuse in a day-night doubleheader at NBT Bank Stadium on Wednesday. Connor Seabold made his third start of the season for Worcester in the day cap and impressed, allowing just four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work. 54 of the 83 pitches the 26-year-old threw went for strikes. Kaleb Ort pitched in relief of Seabold and -- after striking out the side in the seventh -- gave up the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth. 

Worcester's lineup was held to just two hits by five different Syracuse pitchers. Both of those hits belonged to Jarren Duran, who went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles, a walk, and two stolen bases. Jeter Downs, Triston Casas, and Ryan Fitzgerald also drew walks while old friend Stephen Nogosek picked up the winning decision with a scoreless eighth inning for Syracuse. 

In the nightcap, Fitzgerald got the scoring started on a first-inning sacrifice fly that plated Duran from third base. Downs also scored as a result of a Syracuse fielding error. Those were the only two runs Worcester managed to push across the plate. 

Brian Keller got the start for Worcester and allowed three earned runs on three hits, one walk, and one hit batsman across three innings pitched. All three runs the right-hander gave up came with two outs in the bottom of the third when he surrendered a three-run homer. Silvino Bracho took over for Keller in the fourth and hurled two shutout innings of relief. Durbin Feltman allowed one run on one walk and one double in the sixth. 

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Chris Murphy was cruising along until he wasn't. The left-hander was one out away from getting through five scoreless frames but wound up surrendering two earned runs on three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts in his five innings of work. Portland's bullpen struggled from there, as Darin Gillies surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk in the sixth, Zach Bryant served up a two-run home run in the eighth, and Joan Martinez retired the only four batters he faced. 

Offensively, Portland was limited to just one run, which came on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly from Wil Dalton. Otherwise, they went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, though Devlin Granberg did rack up two hits in the loss. 

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Greenville fell behind early and would never recover on Wednesday. Brian Van Belle, making his third start of the season, allowed four runs on 13 hits and no walks to go along with five strikeouts over six innings. All four runs the right-hander surrendered came within the first two innings. Casey Cobb took over for Van Belle in the seventh and tossed a scoreless frame before giving up two more runs in the eighth. Cody Scroggins, on the other hand, got rocked for three runs on four hits in a laborious ninth inning.

On the other side of things, it took until the fifth inning for Greenville to get anything going offensively. That happened when Nick Northcut clubbed a solo shot to left field for his fourth home run of the season. Northcut was the only Greenville batter to register two or more hits. Nick Yorke, who went 0 for 1 with a run scored, drew three walks. Ceddanne Rafaela homered as part of a 1-for-4 night. He currently leads the South Atlantic League with six home runs. 

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Salem jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back. Blaze Jordan, who went 0 for 4 on Wednesday, got the scoring started by driving in Eddinson Paulino on a double play in the first inning. Paulino went 2 for 5 with a double, two runs scored, and one stolen base. Eduardo Vaughan reached base three times and scored twice. Marcelo Mayer went 1 for 3 with a walk and stolen base himself. Jose Garcia provided some pop with his first home run of the year: a two-run shot to left field in the second inning. Karson Simas closed out the scoring with a two-run single in the ninth. 

Tyler Uberstine, in his first start and second overall appearance of the season, allowed just one run while scattering three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings pitched. The 22-year-old right-hander owns a 2.25 ERA through his first two outings of 2022. Out of the Salem bullpen, Joey Stock, Adenys Bautista, and Jacob Webb combined for 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. 

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Player of the Day: In his three starts with Worcester this season, Connor Seabold has posted a 1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and .180 batting average against over 14 2/3 total innings pitched. The right-hander has only struck out nine of the first 57 batters he has faced in 2022 but is proving capable of being effective in other ways. 

Photo Credit: Connor Seabold by Kelly O'Connor