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April 8, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: WooSox sweep doubleheader; Drohan leads shutout for Portland


4/8 Cup of Coffee:
After games were postponed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Worcester finally got the series kicked off in Buffalo. Bryan Mata showed electric stuff in the first game of the doubleheader, and the WooSox capped an impressive comeback in the second game. Shane Drohan (pictured) led Portland to a shutout victory, while Greenville's offense could not capitalize on some chances against Rome. Salem was locked in a back-and-forth contest with Delmarva but ultimately fell in extra innings. 

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The WooSox managed only three hits but still came out on top in the first game of the doubleheader. David Hamilton did most of the damage, going 2 for 3 with a double, two steals, and two runs scored. Bobby Dalbec collected the other hit as he went 1 for 3 with an RBI. On the mound, Bryan Mata debuted after being pushed back the last two days due to rainouts. His control was not sharp, but he limited the Bisons to one run over 3 2/3 innings. He walked five and struck out six. His four-seam fastball averaged 96 mph and topped out at 98. The bullpen locked things down, with Oddanier MosquedaChase Shugart, and AJ Politi combining to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Politi earned the save, his first of the season. 

A six-run seventh inning propelled the WooSox to a sweep on the day. Narciso Crook hit a game-tying home run in the top of the sixth inning, but the Bisons took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. In the seventh, Jarren Duran hit an RBI triple and came around to tie the game on a double from Dalbec. Dalbec scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single from Jorge Alfaro. Dalbec, Hamilton, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Nick Sogard all had two hits. 

Like Mata, Chris Murphy struggled with his control as he walked three in 3 1/3. Murphy also allowed six hits and was charged with two earned runs while striking out five. Durbin Feltman did not allow a run over 1 2/3 innings, and Ryan Sherriff closed the game out with a shutout frame in the seventh. 

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Shane Drohan has had significant buzz coming into the season, and he delivered on that on Friday. Drohan fired five shutout innings as he picked up a win in his season debut. He struck out five while allowing three hits and walking one. The bullpen was just as effective, with Theo Denlinger adding two hitless frames, Brendan Nail striking out four over 1 1/3 innings, and Rio Gomez recording the final two outs for his first save. 

Two of Portland's four hits came off the bat of Corey Rosier. Rosier went 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Nick Yorke went 1 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Christian Koss had another solid game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and two stolen bases. 

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The Drive offense sputtered with only two hits in a loss to Rome. The team did draw 10 walks which led to the three runs, with Chase Meidroth drawing three of those walks. Eddinson Paulino singled, and Nick Decker hit a solo home run to account for the two hits. Max Ferguson turned two walks into two stolen bases and scored a run. 

It was a tough start for Angel Bastardo, who allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings. Casey Cobb did not allow a run in 2 1/3 innings of relief, Joey Stock struck out the side in the seventh, and Aaron Perry struck out two in a scoreless eighth. 

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Salem came back to tie the game in the eighth and ninth innings but fell in extras. Miguel Bleis went 2 for 5 with a walk, Luis Ravelo went 2 for 5 with a double, and Cutter Coffey went 1 for 3 with a double and two walks to pace the offense. 

A fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Noah Dean made his professional debut. He recorded all five of his outs via strikeout, but also walked three and allowed three runs. The walks were a common theme throughout the game as Luis Talavera walked three over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Michael Valera walked three and allowed three runs over two innings, and Marques Johnson had a tough debut, allowing five runs in the 10th. 

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Player of the Day: Shane Drohan showed a significant increase in fastball velocity this spring, which helped catapult him to 12th in the rankings. That increased velocity led to great results in his season debut as he held Binghamton scoreless over five innings. Drohan struck out five and walked only one. Limiting the walks will be crucial for Drohan as he has struggled with them dating back to college. It is an exciting start to the year for a prospect who improved his outlook significantly.

Photo Credit: Shane Drohan by  Kelly O'Connor