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August 28, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ward punches out 10, Wong homers again


8/28 Cup of Coffee: Connor Wong stayed hot in Worcester with two more extra-base hits. Niko Kavadas hit his first home run as a Sea Dog and Brainer Bonaci had a huge game for Salem. Thad Ward (pictured) also dominated in the second game of Portland's doubleheader to salvage a split. 

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Syracuse Mets (NYM) 6, Worcester Red Sox 4
Connor Wong continued his scorching pace at the plate with a second consecutive 3-for-5 evening. He homered for the 13th time and doubled for the 20th time. Ronaldo Hernandez went 2 for 5 with a double, while Triston Casas reached three times with a single and two walks. Jaylin Davis also tripled and Abraham Almonte picked up three singles and a stolen base. Eduard Bazardo started and struggled through three innings, surrendering four runs (two earned) on five hits. He punched out three and walked one. James Norwood, Caleb Simpson, and Zack Kelly each tossed a scoreless frame in relief with two strikeouts. 


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Hartford Yard Goats (COL) 2, Portland Sea Dogs 1 (Game 1)
Portland only had three hits in the first game, but one of them was Niko Kavadas' first Double-A home run. The first baseman also took a pair of walks. Christian Koss doubled and Stephen Scott singled for the other two hits. Izzy Wilson also reached three times with three walks. Shane Drohan pitched five good innings, allowing just one run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Tyler Danish and Michael Gettys each tossed a hitless inning, with Gettys lowering his ERA to 0.73 in 12 games with Portland. Brett Kennedy also pitched two innings and did not allow an earned run. 

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Portland Sea Dogs 2, Hartford Yard Goats (COL) 1 (Game 2)
Thad Ward was brilliant on the mound, punching out 10 in five innings. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits and only walked one. Jacob Wallace went the final two innings without allowing a hit and struck out two. Christian Koss had the big hit, a two-out go-ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. He now has 70 RBI on the season. Wilyer Abreu and Elih Marrero each singled for the only other two Portland hits. 

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Greenville Drive 8, Greensboro Grasshoppers (PIT) 4
Matthew Lugo had a big night at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a run scored. Marcelo Mayer also belted his third home run as a member of the Drive. He added a walk and scored twice. Jaxx Groshans crushed a two-run homer as well, while Max Ferguson had a perfect night, going 1 for 1 with two walks, a stolen base, and three runs scored. Chih-Jung Liu fought through 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Luis Guerrero allowed an unearned run in two innings, but he did not allow a hit and struck out four. Ryan Zeferjahn was good as well out of the bullpen, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings with a couple strikeouts. 

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Salem Red Sox 5, Columbia Fireflies (KC) 4 (10 innings) 
Brainer Bonaci had a huge game, hitting two home runs, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh inning. Eddinson Paulino and Karson Simas each doubled, while Yorberto Mejicano and Eduardo Lopez each had two hits. The Sox also stole five bases in this one, including two from Kier Meredith to give him 25 thefts on the year. Angel Bastardo started and gave up one run with five strikeouts and one walk. Miguel Suero also gave up one run in three innings before Adenys Bautista closed the door in the 10th for his first save. 

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The Blue team took gGame 3 decisively behind a great pitching performance and will move on to the DSL semifinals. After Cristian Nunez struggled to find his control with four walks over 1 2/3 frames, Simon Pacheco came on and dominated for 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander did not allow a run or a hit and struck out four. Elvis Soto shut the door with a three-inning save, allowing no runs on just one hit. Armando Sierra led the way on offense by going 3 for 3 with home run, a walk, and three runs scored. The 18-year old posted a 1.265 OPS in the three-game set. Karim Ayubi belted a two-run homer and Fraymi De Leon connected on a two-run double. 

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Player of the Day: Thad Ward shattered his previous season-high in strikeouts (six) with 10. Ward has pitched for four different Sox affiliates this year, and so far with Portland he has a 3.13 ERA in five starts with 26 strikeouts in 23 innings. 

Photo Credit: Thad Ward by Kelly O'Connor