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September 10, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Encarnacion shines on the mound before Rosier delivers Greenville walk off


9/10 Cup of Coffee:
Portland maintained its two-game advantage for a postseason berth with a come-from-behind victory, using a 12-hit attack and a big Ceddanne Rafaela triple to overcome a five-run deficit. Greenville won a dramatic victory on a Corey Rosier round-tripper, following a dominant outing by Juan Daniel Encarnacion (pictured). Chase Meidroth and Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz helped Salem to an early advantage that it wouldn't relinquish. Worcester suffered the night's only defeat despite an immaculate inning from Chris Murphy.

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Chris Murphy took the loss in Friday night's contest, but also turned in the evening's most impressive feat. In the bottom of the fourth, the left-hander fired the first immaculate inning in WooSox history, finishing all three batters in the inning on swinging strikes. Overall, Murphy allowed four runs (two earned) in six innings, striking out eight and walking two. It was his ninth quality start of the season and first since August 5. Ryan Fitzgerald led the offense with a 2-for-3 effort that included a second-inning solo homer. Jarren Duran reached base three times out of the leadoff spot, going 1 for 3 with a pair of walks.

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After falling in an early 5-0 hole, Portland stormed back with six runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth. Ceddanne Rafaela delivered the key hit, a bases-clearing triple in the seventh that gave Portland the lead. Izzy Wilson blasted his 12th home run of the season as part of a 2-for-3 night that included a walk and three runs scored. Tyler Dearden also went deep for Portland, while Alex Binelas delivered a pair of doubles. David Hamilton was 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBI out of the leadoff spot. 

All of the Binghamton offense came in a tough third inning for Brian Van Belle. The University of Miami product surrendered five runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings, striking out three without issuing a walk. He was picked up by an outstanding effort by a quartet of relievers who combined for 6 1/3 hitless innings. Ryan Zeferjahn went the first 3 1/3, striking out four while walking one. Oddanier Mosqueda, Taylor Broadway, and Dylan Spacke followed with an inning apiece. Broadway had a pair of strikeouts to give him seven against the 11 batters he has faced since coming over from the White Sox.

With the victory, Portland remains two games ahead of Somerset (NYY) with eight games remaining on the Eastern League calendar.

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Juan Daniel Encarnacion was excellent in what will almost certainly be his final 2022 start. The 21-year-old righty fired five scoreless innings, scattering three hits, striking out seven, and walking three. The Asheville staff was able to match zeroes with him, however, and kept pace as Jacinto Arredondo and Brendan Cellucci reached fired two scoreless frames. It wasn't until the bottom of the ninth that the scoreless tie was finally broken, as Corey Rosier blasted a two-run walk-off homer. It was the seventh homer of the season for the left fielder and the first since he came over from San Diego in the Eric Hosmer deal. Marcelo Mayer was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk, bringing his line in seven September contests to .407/.515/.630. Matthew Lugo added a double, and Nick Yorke had a single and a walk. 

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Salem jumped out to an early lead on a first-inning two-run homer off the bat of Chase Meidroth and never looked back. Meidroth drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, giving him 12 RBI in 19 games since joining Salem. Fellow 2022 draftee Mikey Romero had two hits, bringing him to 15 for 38 (.395) on his eight-game hitting streak. Tyler Miller was 2 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base, his 22nd of the season. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz got the start, firing three scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit, struck out four, and walked one. He finishes 2022 with a 1.88 ERA in 13 appearances across two levels. Felix Cepeda struck out six and allowed two runs on one hit in 3 1/3 to get credit for the win. Osvaldo De La Rosa got credit for the save, giving up a run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings.

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Player of the Day: The heroics of Corey Rosier were made possible by the outstanding work of Greenville starter Juan Daniel Encarnacion. Encarnacion had a solid introduction to full-season ball in 2022. He posted a 4.05 ERA in 113 1/3 innings, striking out 129 against 42 walks. His 10 wins matches Brayan Bello for the most among Red Sox minor leaguers, and he is one of only four pitchers in the system with over 75 innings to strike out more than 10 batters per nine innings. Perhaps most impressively, he surrendered just four home runs all season with two coming in his first two appearances. From July 10 onward, Encarnacion posted an ERA of an even 3.00.

Photo Credit: Juan Daniel Encarnacion by Kelly O'Connor