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August 20, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bello rehabs in Worcester; Lugo hits two home runs for Greenville


8/20 Cup of Coffee: The bats were alive on Friday as several notable prospects launched home runs. Franchy Cordero and Connor Wong went deep for Worcester, and Matthew Lugo (pictured) hit two for Greenville. Brayan Bello had another stellar rehab performance, and Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz was stellar again in the FCL.

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Franchy Cordero, Connor Wong, and Triston Casas again led the offense in an easy win for the WooSox. A day after hitting two home runs, Cordero went 3 for 5 with a grand slam. Wong hit his fourth home run in his last six games, going 1 for 4 as the designated hitter. Casas got pitched around as he went 0 for 1 with three walks. He now has 12 walks in 15 games in August. Abraham Almonte also had a night, going 3 for 4 with a home run and a walk. 

In his second rehab start, Brayan Bello went 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches with 50 of them for strikes. Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort ended the game with a scoreless inning apiece. 

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A four-run ninth inning completed a comeback victory for Portland. Christian Koss put the Sea Dogs ahead with a two-run single, and Stephen Scott and Niko Kavadas each padded the lead with a run-scoring single. Kavadas went 3 for 4 with a walk, and Cam Cannon went 2 for 2 with two walks. Cannon entered the game for Wilyer Abreu, who left after grounding out in the first. He did not factor in the decision, but Sterling Sharp had a quality start. He allowed two runs over six innings with four strikeouts. The win went to Jacob Wallace, and Cody Scroggins struck out the side for the save in his first game with Portland. 

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Two home runs from Mathew Lugo were not enough as the Drive left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Lugo went 3 for 5 with five RBI, and Nathan Hickey went 2 for 3 with a home run and two walks. Marcelo Mayer went 1 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch, and Max Ferguson drew three walks. Wikelman Gonzalez surrendered three runs while striking out six over four innings. The bullpen was roughed up further, with each reliever allowing multiple runs. 

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A five-run third inning for Delmarva sank Salem. Making his first appearance since July 6, Reidis Sena threw a hitless inning to start the game. The Shorebirds got to Gabriel Jackson for five runs over 1 2/3, and Christopher Troye did not allow a baserunner in his two innings. Tyler Miller had the only offensive performance of note, going 2 for 4 with a double, a steal, and two RBI. Kier Meredith went 1 for 3 with two walks, and Darel Belen had two outfield assists. 

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The Red Sox scored three in the ninth on a Mikey Romero three-run home run, but they came up just short. It was Romero's first career home run as the shortstop went 1 for 5. Allan Castro and Ahbram Liendo went 2 for 5, with Castro adding two steals. Liendo got caught stealing second base to end the game. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz had another solid outing, allowing one run over four innings while striking out three. 2022 draft picks Jonathan Brand and Isaac Coffey made their debuts, and each tossed a scoreless inning. With the loss, the FCL Red Sox have a two-game lead in the Wild Card race with three games to play. 

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Down by four runs entering the bottom of the ninth, the Blue squad rallied for five runs for the walk-off victory. In true DSL fashion, the five runs scored on only two singles thanks to an error, two hit batters, and three walks. Armando Sierra returned to the lineup after missing almost two weeks and went 1 for 5. Fraymi De Leon went 1 for 3 with a home run, walk, and four RBI. Diego Rodriguez went 1 for 2 with a triple and three walks, and Andy Lugo went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI. Daniel Nunez was the best of the six pitchers, firing three scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. 

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The Red squad launched four home runs, including two in the top of the 10th, to stay alive in the playoff chase. Yohander LinarezNatanael YutenCristofher Paniagua, and Jancel Santana all went deep, with Santana's being an inside-the-parker. Linarez and Yuten added doubles, and Freili Encarnacion went 1 for 5 but scored twice and drove in two. Darlyn De La Cruz allowed one run over 3 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out five. The win went to Simon Pacheco, who allowed one hit and struck out seven over 3 2/3 dominant innings. 

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Player of the Night: Matthew Lugo hit his 14th and 15th home runs on Friday as part of a three-hit night. The offensive outburst pushed his OPS over .800, which is 100 points higher than his OPS last season in Salem. The system's 21st-ranked prospect, Lugo's had a rough July but has bounced back in August. He has shown increased power potential this season while keeping a strikeout rate of under 20 percent. 

Photo Credit: Matthew Lugo by Kelly O'Connor