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April 14, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Yorke heats up and Casas homers again


4/14 Cup of Coffee
: Red Sox affiliates went 2-2 on Wednesday. Jay Groome continued Portland's run of outstanding starting pitching by tossing five scoreless frames. The same can be said for Connor Seabold in Worcester. Speaking of Worcester, Triston Casas launched another no-doubt home run over the Worcester Wall at Polar Park. In Greenville, Alex Binelas hit his third homer of the season in as many games, and, after a slow start to the year, Nick Yorke's (pictured) bat woke up as he joined in on the offensive explosion.

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Triston Casas homered for the second night in a row, with this one traveling 410 feet over the Worcester Wall at Polar Park and coming off former first-round draft pick Mark Appel. Casas also reached base via a two-run single as he finished his productive day at the plate having gone 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Grant Williams and Rob Refsnyder were responsible for Worcester's first four runs. Williams got the scoring started with a two-run double in the second inning and Refsnyder followed with a two-run knock of his own in the fourth. 

On the mound, Connor Seabold was dominant in his second start of the season for Worcester. After a so-so 2022 debut, the 26-year-old right-hander kept Lehigh Valley off the board while allowing just one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work. 45 of the 71 pitches he threw went for strikes. Silvino Bracho allowed one run on a solo homer in the sixth, Geoff Hartlieb stranded a pair of base runners in a scoreless seventh, and Derek Holland surrendered two runs (including a solo shot to old friend John Andreoli) over two innings to close out the win.

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Similar to what Brayan Bello did the day before, Jay Groome dazzled in his first start of the season for Portland. Like Seabold, the left-hander held Harrisburg scoreless and scattered just one hit and no walks with four strikeouts over five innings pitched. He needed just 49 pitched (33 strikes) to retire 14 of the 15 batters he faced. Dylan Spacke was charged with the loss and blown save as he allowed all three of Harrisburg's runs to cross the plate in the sixth. Joan Martinez finished the frame and recorded the first out of the seventh before Oddanier Mosqueda came on and struck out three over 1 2/3 innings of relief. 

Nick Sogard accounted for Portland's first run of the day when he drove in Brandon Howlett on an RBI groundout in the top of the second inning. Their only other run came from Christian Koss, who drove in Wil Dalton on an RBI single in the ninth. Dalton, Koss, and catcher Kole Cottam all had two-hit games and were responsible for all six of Portland's hits. 

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Greenville received contributions from up and down their lineup in a blowout win over Asheville. Tyler McDonough, Gilberto Jimenez, and Stephen Scott each had two hits. Matthew Lugo recorded three hits and drove in one run. Ceddanne Rafaela and Nick Yorke went a combined 9 for 12 with five RBIs and six runs scored. Nick Northcut clubbed his first home run of the season while Alex Binelas went yard for the third consecutive game. 

Chih-Jung Liu, making his first start of the season, allowed three earned runs on three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over four innings pitched. All three runs Liu gave up came by way of the long ball. Ryan Zeferjahn made the first relief appearance of his professional career and struck out two across three scoreless, one-hit frames. Brendan Cellucci bounced back from a rough 2022 debut by twirling a scoreless eighth inning, while Devon Roedahl walked one and struck out the side in the ninth to close things out. 

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Salem suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday. Nathanael Cruz got the start and surrendered three runs on one hit, five walks, and two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Uberstine pitched in relief of Cruz and allowed just one run while scattering four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. Attleboro native Nate Tellier suffered the loss and blown save as the right-hander allowed one run to score in the sixth and two more to score in the seventh. Adenys Bautista ended things in the seventh before sitting down the side in order in the eighth. 

Four of Salem's six runs came in their half of the third inning. With no outs and the bases loaded, a balk and passed ball allowed Tyler Miller and Eduardo Vaughan to score. Jose Garcia scored from third on an RBI triple off the bat of Eddinson Paulino, who was then driven in by a Brainer Bonaci RBI single. Miguel Ugueto continued the scoring in the sixth when he plated Marcelo Mayer on a run-scoring single of his own. Blaze Jordan tacked on another run by driving in Bonaci an inning later. Mayer went hitless for the first time this season, though he did reach base twice by drawing a pair of walks. 

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Player of the Day: As the reigning Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, Nick Yorke had gotten his 2022 season off to somewhat of a slow start since he was just 3 for 14 at the plate coming into play on Wednesday. Following Wednesday's showing in which he went 5 for 6 with four RBIs and three runs scored, the 20-year-old has raised his early-season batting average up to .400. 

Photo Credit: Nick Yorke by Kelly O'Connor