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August 22, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Home runs for Hernández and Ferguson; Ward struggles


8/22 Cup of Coffee:
The offense was quiet in the upper minors, save for a two-run home run from Ronaldo Hernández (pictured). It was a rare tough start for Thaddeus Ward in a blowout loss for Portland, and Max Ferguson hit his first home run for the Drive. Johnfrank Salazar's three hits helped Salem win a one-run game. 

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A quality start from Brian Keller was not enough as the Red Wings split the series. All the damage came off of Keller on a three-run home run as right-hander went the first six innings. AJ Politi, Frank German, and Kaleb Ort followed with scoreless innings. For the WooSox, a two-run home run from Ronaldo Hernández cut the lead down to one, but they could not tie it up. The home run was his 12th of the year as part of a 2-for-4 day. Triston Casas went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, and Abraham Almonte went 1 for 2 with a double and two walks. 

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A rough outing for Thaddeus Ward and a quiet night for the offense led to a blowout by Reading. Ward allowed seven runs (five earned) over five innings in his first poor start with Portland. Rio Gomez struck out three over two innings of one-hit ball. Portland could not get any offense against Andrew Painter, who was making his Double-A debut. The Sea Dogs had only four hits, with Niko Kavadas being the only player to reach base twice. He did so via a walk and a hit by pitch. 

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The Drive put crooked numbers on the board in the fifth and sixth innings to take down Bowling Green. A three-run home run from Max Ferguson in the fifth gave Greenville the lead, and he added to it with an RBI single in the sixth. Gilberto Jimenez went 2 for 4 with a two-run single, and Phillip Sikes drew three walks. It was another rocky start for Chih-Jung Liu as he gave up three runs over four innings. He walked four and struck out four. Two shutout innings from Austin Lambright earned him the victory, and Ryan Zeferjahn closed things out in the ninth. 

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Johnfrank Salazar finished a home run short of the cycle to lead Salem on Sunday. Salazar drove in two and had three of the team's five hits. Chase Meidroth went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk, and Daniel McElveny went 1 for 2 with two walks and scored two runs. Angel Bastardo allowed three runs over 3 1/3, and the win went to Miguel Suero, who fired 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Blake Loubier allowed a run in the ninth but held on for the save. 

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Player of the Day: Max Ferguson launched his first home run as a member of Boston's organization in an easy win for Greenville. Acquired from San Diego as part of the Eric Hosmer trade, Ferguson debuted at 57th in the system rankings. The home run was only his second extra-base hit in 12 games with Greenville, but he has shown good on-base skills by drawing 11 walks. His line of .225/.392/.325 in the small sample highlights his below-average hit tool and below-average power, but his ability to get on base and utilize his plus-plus speed could make him an interesting utility player if the bat clicks. 

Photo Credit: Ronaldo Hernández by Kelly O'Connor