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June 2, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Uberstine deals, Downs and Kavadas homer


6/2 Cup of Coffee: Boston's affiliates went 2-2 on Wednesday. Worcester got the early start and Jaylin Davis and Jeter Downs both homered in a win. Christian Koss and Kole Cottam each had two hits in a Portland loss. Ceddanne Rafaela accounted for Greenville's lone hit in a shutout loss while Tyler Uberstine (pictured) stole the show in Salem with five scoreless frames en route to a victory. 

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A Wednesday matinee at Polar Park saw Worcester hold on for a 6-5 win over Syracuse. Thomas Pannone was brilliant in his ninth start of the season. The native Rhode Islander allowed just one earned run on five hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts over five innings of work. 41 of the 59 pitches he threw for strikes. Michael Feliz followed suit by tossing a scoreless frame in the sixth, but Geoff Hartlieb got rocked for three runs in the seventh and Eduard Bazardo allowed one unearned run to score in the eighth. Fortunately, Franklin German held on in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. 

The Worcester lineup got to Syracuse for two runs within the first two innings of Wednesday's contest. Rob Refsnyder got the scoring started with an RBI double in the first and Jaylin Davis crushed his second home run of the season a very long way in the second. Jarren Duran joined in on the action with a run-scoring double of his own in the fifth before scoring on a throwing error. That same inning, Jeter Downs clobbered a two-run home run to left field to give Worcester a 6-1 lead that would ultimately lead to its fifth straight victory. Duran led the team in runs by scoring twice. Downs led the team in RBIs by driving in a pair on his eighth big fly of the year. 

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After a 10-inning affair on Tuesday, Portland nearly went into extra innings against New Hampshire again on Wednesday. Brett Kennedy, making his first start and second overall appearance since joining Portland from the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, yielded two earned runs on five hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over six quality innings. The 27-year-old right-hander threw 74 pitches, 48 of which went for strikes. In relief of Kennedy, Caleb Simpson allowed two runs (one earned) in his 2022 debut while Brendan Nail struck out one in a perfect eighth inning. 

Offensively, Christian Koss got Portland on the board with a fourth-inning RBI double that scored Tyreque Reed. Fast forward to the ninth, Hudson Potts and Kole Cottam each drove in a run to make it a one-run game. But Portland's rally ultimately fell short. Koss went 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI, and one run scored. Cottam went 2 for 4 with one RBI.

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It was a low-scoring affair in Winston-Salem. Brendan Cellucci served as the opener for Greenville, walking one and striking out three across two scoreless frames. Shane Drohan followed by putting together a solid outing. The 23-year-old southpaw gave up just one run on three hits, one walk, and seven punchouts over five strong innings. Cody Scroggins struck out one in a shutout eighth inning. Greenville's lone hit came on a third-inning single off the bat of Ceddanne Rafaela, who also drew a walk as part of a 1-for-3 night at the plate. 

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Eddinson Paulino led off the first inning by drawing a six-pitch walk and, with Brainer Bonaci at the plate, scored all the way from first on a stolen base and two errors. Bonaci himself took ball four and scored when Nathan Hickey grounded into a double play. In the second, Phillip Sikes drove in Tyler Miller on a line-drive RBI double. An inning later, Blaze Jordan scored from second base when Miller reached on a throwing error. Niko Kavadas closed out the scoring by clubbing a two-run home run with no outs in the fifth inning. It was Kavadas' sixth homer of the season. Kavadas, Miller, and Eduardo Lopez had six hits between them.

Tyler Uberstine celebrated in style, fanning four and walking none over five scoreless, one-hit innings. The right-hander lowered his ERA on the season to 3.92. Out of the Salem bullpen, Jacob Webb allowed one run across two innings before Graham Hoffman and Joey Stock closed things out by combining for two scoreless frames.

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Player of the Day: Who better to pick than Tyler Uberstine, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday. Nine outings into his first full professional season, the 2021 19th-round draftee from Northwestern University has posted a 3.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 43 strikeouts to 12 walks over 41 1/3 innings of work for Salem.

Photo Credit: Tyler Uberstine by Kelly O'Connor