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May 11, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Salem hurlers combine for two-hitter; Mayer returns to lineup

5/11 Cup of Coffee:
It was an appealing slate of pitchers scheduled to throw on Tuesday, with three arms ranked among the top 13 prospects in the system on the docket. However, it was Wyatt Olds, the 2021 seventh-round pick currently ranked 42nd, who was the best of the lot. Olds was excellent in a Greenville loss in which neither team scored until the starters were long since removed. Wikelman Gonzalez was hard to hit but struggled with his control during his part of a Salem two-hit shutout. Salem, with help from a returning Marcelo Mayer (pictured), picked up the only win down on the farm. Worcester and Portland both fell on nights when Connor Seabold and Brandon Walter were uncharacteristically not sharp.


The game got off to a good start at Polar Park when Jeter Downs lined a two-run homer over the left field wall in the first inning. It was the seventh homer of the season for Downs, and fourth in his last eight games. It was all Rochester from that point on, as the Red Wings exploded for five second-inning runs off of Connor Seabold. It was the first loss of the season for the right-hander, who allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits in three innings, striking out and walking three apiece. Silvio Bracho, Phillips Valdez, and Michael Feliz combined for five scoreless innings out of the pen, but Rochester added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers off of Durbin Feltman.


Brandon Walter entered Tuesday's matchup having allowed two or fewer runs in each of his five outings and on a streak of four straight quality starts. That would not continue, as he surrendered three runs in the first, matching his total allowed on the season. Hartford reached Walter for six more in the second, leaving the organization's sixth-ranked prospect with a line of nine runs allowed (seven earned) in just 1 1/3 innings. Despite the rough outing, Walter's ERA rose only to 2.93 on the year. Jacob Wallace pitched a hitless inning of relief, striking out a pair and walking one. 

The Sea Dogs lineup had its share of highlights. David Hamilton was 3 for 5 with a triple out of the leadoff spot. Pedro Castellanos drove in a pair as part of a 2-for-4 effort, while Cameron Cannon doubled for one of his two hits.  


It was a pitcher's duel in Asheville as the two teams battled to a 0-0 tie into the seventh inning. Wyatt Olds (pictured, right) had his best outing as a pro, scattering two hits across 4 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five against just two walks. He got no support from his office, as Tourist starter Spencer Arrighetti spun five hitless innings. Tyler McDonough led off the sixth with a single to break up the no-hit bid and then another Nick Northcut homer broke the tie in the seventh. Asheville bounced back for five runs in the bottom of the frame off Jacinto Arredondo. Matthew Lugo went deep with a two-run blast in the eighth as the Drive mounted a rally, but it was not to be. Alex Binelas drew three walks on the night, while Nick Yorke walked and singled.


It was a good start to the day for the organization, as 2021 first-round pick Marcelo Mayer returned to the starting lineup to DH in Salem's Tuesday matinee. Mayer would pick up a hit and steal a base, but it was the pitching that was the story, with a quartet of arms combining on a two-hit shutout. Wikelman Gonzalez got things started for Salem. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 innings while striking out five, but he struggled with his control. He walked four, hit a batter, and uncorked two wild pitches, ultimately needing 80 pitches to record only 10 outs. Osvaldo De La Rosa got credit for the win, throwing 1 2/3 hitless frames. Miguel Suero gave up one hit in three innings, striking out four while walking one. Jacob Webb struck out two in a perfect ninth to complete the gem. 

Eddinson Paulino provided all of the offense that Salem's stingy hurlers would need, blasting a solo homer in the second inning. Blaze Jordan doubled twice and how now hit safely in eight straight games after being mired in a slump throughout April.


Player of the Day: After impressing with Salem last summer and in Fort Myers in Spring Training, Wyatt Olds was off to a tough start to his first full season. Assigned to Greenville, the Oklahoma product surrendered 21 runs in 18 2/3 innings in his first five outings. Though his strikeout numbers were impressive, control was the biggest issue, with Olds issuing nearly seven free passes per nine innings. Tuesday appeared to be a step in the right direction. He walked just two batters while throwing 58.8 percent strikes in his 4 1/3 innings. 

Photo Credit: Marcelo Mayer, Wyatt Olds by Kelly O'Connor