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May 5, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Downs homers in third straight game, Seabold dominates again


5/5 Cup of Coffee: Happy Cinco de Mayo! Boston affiliates went 1-2 on Wednesday as Portland's game was rained out. Jarren Duran, Triston Casas, and Jeter Downs (pictured) drove in a total of six runs while Connor Seabold provided seven, one-run innings in Worcester's win over Toledo. In Greenville, Nick Northcut, Nick Decker, and Matthew Lugo all went yard at Fluor Field, while Salem, on the other hand, got blown out by Myrtle Beach.

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After their game on Tuesday was rained out, Worcester and Toledo played as they were originally scheduled to on Wednesday afternoon. Connor Seabold was impressive yet again in his fifth start of the season, allowing just one earned run on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with eight strikeouts over seven innings of work. The right-hander needed 70 pitches (50 strikes) to improve to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 1.63. In relief of Seabold, Zack Kelly struck out the side in the eighth before John Schreiber closed things out with a scoreless ninth inning. 

It took until the fourth inning for the Worcester lineup to get into the hit column, but they did not look back from there. Jarren Duran broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single and, along with Jeter Downs, scored on a two-run double off the bat of Triston Casas. Duran returned the favor an inning later with a two-run double of his own that brought in Christin Stewart and Ronaldo Hernandez. Downs scored once more on a Rob Refsnyder RBI groundout and ended his day in style by crushing a two-run home run with no outs in the eighth. The 23-year-old infielder now has six home runs on the season and has gone yard in three straight games.

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Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Fightin Phils (PHI), PPD (Weather)
Rainy conditions within the vicinity of Hadlock Field resulted in Wednesday's contest between Portland and Reading being postponed. It will be made up as part of a single-admission, seven-inning doubleheader on Thursday. Expect reigning Eastern League Pitcher of the Month Brandon Walter to start one of those two games.

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The Drive suffered their first loss of May by falling to Rome in 10 innings. Wyatt Olds, making his fifth start of the season, surrendered four earned runs on three hits, three walks, one hit batter, and five strikeouts over four innings pitched. The 22-year-old righty also gave up his third home run of 2022 and did not factor into Wednesday's decision. Out of the bullpen, Casey Cobb allowed one unearned run in his two innings of relief, Michael Gettys scattered four hits over 1 2/3 scoreless frames thanks in part to two outfield assists from Tyler Esplin, and Devon Roedahl was rocked for four runs (three earned) in the 10th before Ryan Fernandez recorded the final two outs of the inning.

Offensively, Greenville got on the board first when Nick Northcut cranked a two-run home run to right-center field in the second inning. The only other scoring before the ninth inning came on a pair of solo shots from Nick Decker in the seventh and Matthew Lugo in the eighth. Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Ceddanne Rafaela ripped a two-out double and immediately scored when Lugo came through with a game-tying RBI single. Greenville, however, went down quietly in their half of the 10th. Lugo's eighth-inning homer was his second of the year and came as part of a three-hit day for the 20-year-old shortstop. He also stole a base, as did Gilberto Jimenez.

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It was not a fun night for the Red Sox, who already trailed by four runs before taking their first at-bats. Top pitching prospect Wikelman Gonzalez, in his fifth start of the season, yielded four runs on two hits, three walks, and one strikeout while only recording the first two outs of the first inning. Miguel Suero and Blake Loubier combined to give up 10 more runs over the next three innings. Attleboro native Nate Tellier got rocked for six runs in the fifth, Maceo Campbell retired seven of the 10 batters he faced over 2 1/3 scoreless frames, and Osvaldo De La Rosa was tagged for four runs in the eighth. In the ninth, outfielder Phillip Sikes made his professional debut as a pitcher and faced the minimum.

On the other side of things, the Salem lineup found themselves in a seven-run hole before they plated their first run of the night on a second-inning RBI single from Eduardo Vaughan. Eddinson Paulino scored on a fielding error in the third and recorded an RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. Eduardo Lopez hit his first home run of the season in the fifth before Niko Kavadas and Tyler Miller closed out the scoring for Salem with an RBI each in the sixth. Miller and Blaze Jordan had four hits between them while Vaughan went 3 for 5 with a double and run driven in out of the No. 9 spot. 

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Player of the Day: After a shaky start to his season, Jeter Downs appears to be heating up by going 1 for 3 on Wednesday. Downs is now slashing .247/.360/.518 with three doubles, one triple, six home runs, 10 RBI, 22 runs scored, four stolen bases, 14 walks, and 35 strikeouts over 22 games (100 plate appearances) with Worcester. He is currently the No. 16 prospect in the organization but could be working his way back up the rankings.  

Photo Credit: Jeter Downs by Kelly O'Connor