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June 17, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mata continues to make progress on rehab assignment, Paulino triples and homers


6/17 Cup of Coffee: It may have been a disappointing day in Boston sports with the Celtics falling to the Warriors in the NBA Finals on Thursday, but Red Sox affiliates at least went 5-2 to make up for it. In Worcester, Jeter Downs went deep for the 11th time this season. For Portland, Brian Van Belle struck out four in his Double-A debut while Ceddanne Rafaela collected his first Double-A triple. Nick Northcut homered yet again in a Greenville win while Eddinson Paulino (pictured) and Niko Kavadas also went yard in Salem. 

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Rhode Island native Thomas Pannone got lit up for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, zero walks, and six strikeouts over four innings in his 11th start of the season for Worcester. The southpaw served up a pair of home runs while seeing his ERA on the year inflate to 5.02. Taylor Cole did not fare much better as he surrendered three runs in the fifth inning alone. From there, Geoff Hartlieb, Eduard Bazardo, and Kaleb Ort combined for four scoreless frames. 


Connor Wong drove in Worcester's first run on an RBI single that scored Grant Williams in the third inning. Johan Mieses belted his sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth while Jeter Downs clubbed a two-run shot in the sixth for his 11th big fly of 2022. Ronaldo Hernandez also went 2 for 4 with a double in what was an otherwise quiet night for the WooSox lineup. 

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Brian Van Belle made his first start for Portland after being promoted from High-A Greenville earlier in the week. The University of Miami product allowed three runs on three hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts over five innings of work. All three of those runs crossed the plate in the fourth, as Van Belle retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up two singles and a three-run home run to old friend Josh Ockimey. The right-hander tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning to end his day and finished with 75 pitches (49 strikes). Jacob Wallace and Dylan Spacke each gave up two runs out of the bullpen before Chase Shugart and Caleb Simpson combined to get five outs without yielding a run. 

Portland's only two runs came in the top half of the third inning. Nick Sogard reached base via a one-out single, advanced to third on a David Hamilton base hit, and scored on a double steal. Hamilton then scored on an RBI single off the bat of Pedro Castellanos, who picked up his 39th RBI of the season as part of a 2 for 4 night at the plate. Ceddanne Rafaela struck out twice and recorded just one hit, but it was his first triple at the Double-A level. 

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Bryan Mata's second rehab start with Greenville went well. The 23-year-old righty gave up just one hit and three walks while striking out eight over four scoreless innings of work. 37 of the 67 pitches he threw went for strikes. Michael Gettys took over for Mata and spun two shutout innings of his own to pick up his first winning decision of the season. Brendan Cellucci, making his first relief appearance since May 8, surrendered two runs on four hits while Robert Kwiatkowski struck out two over two one-run innings to pick up the save. 

An RBI single from Joe Davis and sacrifice fly from Brandon Howlett plated Greenville's first two runs in the first inning. After Tyler McDonough and Alex Binelas each drew a walk in the third, Nick Northcut proceeded to crush a three-run shot to left center field for his 21st big fly of the season. Stephen Scott provided some insurance in the ninth by driving in Matthew Lugo on an RBI groundout. McDonough and Lugo, who had two hits, each scored twice. Northcut went 2 for 5 while going deep yet again and Antoni Flores compiled his first three-hit game of the year.

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After Eduardo Lopez scored on a fielding error to push across Salem's first run in the second inning, Eddinson Paulino followed by blasting a three-run home run to right field for his fifth of the season. Blaze Jordan knocked in another run to close out a five-run second. In the fourth, Niko Kavadas broke a 5-5 tie by mashing a two-run shot for his ninth homer of the year and second in his last three games. Lopez scored again on a successful double steal in the seventh. Paulino went 3 for 5 with a home run and triple as part of his productive night at the plate which raised his OPS on the season to .812. Kavadas and Lopez also reached base three times.

Juan Daniel Encarnacion made his 11th start of the season for Salem and allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts across four innings. Fifty-two of the 77 pitches the right-hander threw went for strikes. Out of the Salem bullpen, Joey Stock struck out four over two scoreless frames, Osvaldo De La Rosa struck out two over two more scoreless frames, and Luis Guerrero earned the save by closing things out in the ninth.

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It was another offensive onslaught for the FCL Red Sox squad. Juan Montero led the way by going 2 for 2 with two doubles, four RBIs, and one walk. Daniel McElveny, Lyonell James, and Johnfrank Salazar all had multiple hits while James, Montero, Juan Chacon, and Ahbram Liendo all had more than one RBI. On the other side of things, Jose Ramirez made his second start of the season and surrendered just one unearned run on four hits, four walks, and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

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Freili Encarnacion got the DSL Red Sox Red squad on the board with a sacrifice fly in the third inning that was followed by an RBI groundout off the bat of Jose Liriano. After Axel James tripled in a run in the fourth, Liriano struck again in the seventh by hitting his first professional home run - a two-run shot. In that same inning, Claudio Simon reached base on a two-out single, successfully stole second, then scored all the way from second on a throwing error. Liriano led the way with three RBIs while James and Natanael Yuten each had two hits. Junior Delanda picked up the win on the mound by tossing three one-run frames in which he punched out three as well. 

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Fraymi De Leon accounted for three of his side's seven hits by going 3 for 3 with two RBIs, one run scored, and one walk. One of those hits was a triple, his first as a professional. Besides De Leon, Kelvin Diaz, Marvin Alcantara, and Jose Mendez also recorded RBIs in the win. Andres Ortuno earned the winning decision by spinning three scoreless innings of relief. 

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Player of the Day: On the heels of Thursday's three-hit performance, Eddinson Paulino is now batting .298/.431/.638 with three doubles, two triples, three home runs, 11 RBIs, 14 runs scored, six stolen bases, 11 walks, and 13 strikeouts in 12 games for Salem this month. The 19-year-old infielder is currently regarded as the 19th-ranked prospect in the organization 

Photo Credit: Eddinson Paulino by Kelly O'Connor