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July 14, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Northcut sets single-season home run record for Greenville


7/14 Cup of Coffee: The WooSox were rained out in Norfolk and the Florida Complex League squad had the day off, so Boston's minor-league affiliates went a collective 3-3 on Wednesday. In Portland, Brett Kennedy was solid on the mound while David Hamilton stole another base as the Sea Dogs saw their eight-game winning streak come to a halt. For Greenville, Nick Northcut (pictured) made history while Wyatt Olds tossed four one-run innings. And Salem split its impromptu doubleheader against Kannapolis while the Dominican Summer League squads went .500 on the day. 

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Worcester Red Sox, Norfolk Tides (BAL) (PPD)
Wednesday's game between Worcester and Norfolk was postponed due to inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a single-admission, seven-inning doubleheader on Thursday. First pitch for Game One of the twin bill is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.

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Portland saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night. Brett Kennedy got the start and pitched well, yielding two runs on seven hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over six-plus innings of work. Jacob Wallace took over for the veteran right-hander and allowed one of the runners he inherited to score in the seventh. The UCONN product then issued a bases-loaded walk in the eighth before making way for Rio Gomez, who allowed another inherited runner to score while also giving up a run of his own in the ninth. 

On the other side of things, Portland's lone run came on a sacrifice fly from Izzy Wilson in the bottom of the first inning. Christian Koss accounted for two of Portland's three hits. David Hamilton was responsible for the other, as the speedy infielder went 1 for 3 with a double and his 33rd stolen base of the season.

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Greenville's offensive production was fueled by the long ball on Wednesday. Niko Kavadas, Nick Northcut, and Phillip Sikes all homered as part of two-hit days at the plate. Kavadas crushed a two-run home run in the first inning, Northcut belted a two-run homer of his own in the fourth, and Sikes closed out the scoring with a solo shot in the ninth. For Northcut, it was his 25th big fly of the year, setting a new single-season home run record in Greenville. Alex Erro, for his part, went 4 for 5 with an RBI and one run scored. 

Wyatt Olds put together one of his better starts of the season for Greenville. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with a season-high of nine strikeouts over four solid innings of work. Fifty-one of the 77 pitches he threw went for strikes. In relief of Olds, Devon Roedahl and Robert Kwiatkowski gave up a total of three runs before Jacinto Arredondo and Michael Gettys combined for two scoreless frames to close out the victory.

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After inclement weather resulted in Tuesday's contest getting suspended in the fourth inning, the Red Sox and Cannon Ballers picked up where they left off on Wednesday afternoon. With a 3-1 lead already in hand, Salem received two scoreless innings of relief from Graham Hoffman, who ultimately earned the win. Felix Cepeda followed up, yielding one run in the eighth before Luis Guerrero came on to record a six-out save.

In the second game of this impromptu doubleheader, Wikelman Gonzalez struggled in his 17th start of the season. The 20-year-old right-hander surrendered four earned runs on one hit, five walks, and three strikeouts over two-plus innings of work. His ERA on the season now sits at 5.28. Blake Loubier did not fare much better, as the righty got touched for seven runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Bryan Lucas, on the other hand, struck out three across 2 1/3 scoreless frames. 

Salem's first run came on an RBI double off the bat of Yorberto Mejicano in the second inning. The second run came when Brainer Bonaci scored on a double steal in the bottom of the third. Like Mejicano, Bonaci also doubled as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Blaze Jordan tripled for the third time this year. 

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For just the second time this season, the Blue squad has dropped consecutive games to fall to 23-6 on the year. Kelvin Diaz led the way out of the leadoff spot by going 2 for 3 with an RBI double, a walk, and two stolen bases. Marvin Alcantara also registered a run-scoring hit. On the mound, Cristian Nunez got the start and allowed two unearned runs on two hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across 2 2/3 innings.

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Eybersson Polanco made his seventh start of the season for the Red squad and gave up just one hit and two walks with five punchouts over four scoreless innings. Simon Pacheco notched the winning decision by fanning five across two shutout frames of relief. Offensively, Frank Astacio went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and a walk out of the three-hole. Axel James also recorded two base hits while Freili Encarnacion and Claudio Simon each stole two bases.

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Player of the Day: Move aside, Tyler Dearden, Nick Northcut has now hit the most home runs in a single season in Greenville Drive history. Northcut surpassed Dearden with his 25th blast of the season on Wednesday, good for the most in the South Atlantic League by a wide margin. The 23-year-old slugger has also posted a league-leading ISO of .308 through 72 games.

Photo Credit: Nick Northcut by Kelly O'Connor