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June 1, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bonaci finishes triple shy of cycle; Rodriguez-Cruz fires six scoreless frames

6/1 Cup of Coffee:
To cap off the month of May, Boston's affiliates went 2-2 on Wednesday. Brainer Bonaci (pictured) stole the show by nearly hitting for the cycle as part of a comeback win for Greenville. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz, meanwhile, hurled six scoreless frames to lead Salem to a shutout victory in Myrtle Beach. In the upper levels, Marcelo Mayer went hitless in his Double-A debut with Portland while David Hamilton registered two doubles in a Worcester loss.

It was a quiet night for the WooSox lineup down in Louisville. David Hamilton led the way out of the leadoff spot by going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Ryan Fitzgerald accounted for his side's lone RBI with a run-scoring single in the second inning. He also stole his fifth base of the season. Jorge Alfaro and Bobby Dalbec each scored a run after being hit by a pitch. Niko Goodrum and Daniel Palka combined to draw all three of Worcester's walks. In the second game of his rehab assignment, Adam Duvall went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts while playing five innings in center field.

Brandon Walter fell to 0-5 on the season after allowing three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. The left-hander yielded six hits and three walks while striking out five on 102 pitches (64 strikes). Out of the Worcester bullpen, Taylor Broadway recorded the final two outs of the fifth inning before Brennan Bernardino gave up one unearned run in the seventh and Chase Shugart got tagged for a season-high of five earned runs in the eighth. 


Marcelo Mayer made his highly-anticipated Double-A debut on Wednesday morning. Batting third and starting at shortstop for the Sea Dogs, the 20-year-old went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts while leaving seven runners on base. He did, however, turn a 6-3 double play in the eighth inning. Nick Yorke paced the Portland lineup by going 3 for 5 with a double and two singles out of the two-hole. Niko Kavadas, who had one RBI, and Tyler McDonough, who scored one run, each drew three walks. 

Brian Van Belle, making his ninth start of the season, allowed four earned runs on five hits, one walk, and two hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts over seven innings of work. The Miami product gave up two home runs, including a two-run shot to old friend Jeisson Rosario. He finished with 96 pitches (56 strikes) before Joe Jones came on and faced the minimum in a scoreless eighth inning.


A six-run eighth inning propelled Greenville to a come-from-behind win at Fluor Field. Brainer Bonaci led the charge offensively for the Drive, going 3 for 4 with a single, a two-run double, and a solo home run (3) in the process of finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Eduardo Lopez also tallied three hits and drove in one run with a fifth-inning RBI single. Eddinson Paulino's triple proved to be the biggest hit of the night, as it pushed across the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth. Max Ferguson and Miguel Ugueto each had two hits and one stolen base. Ronald Rosario had two run-scoring singles and threw out a pair of would-be base stealers from behind the plate. 

Dalton Rogers got rocked for five runs in his second start of the season for Greenville. The 22-year-old southpaw gave up just three hits, but he walked as many batters as he struck out (5) across 4 1/3 innings of work. Only 40 of the 85 pitches Rogers threw went for strikes. Brock Bell surrendered two more runs (one earned) after relieving Rogers. Nate Tellier and Joey Stock then combined to punch out four over three scoreless frames out of the bullpen.


Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz put together his finest start of the season to date for Salem. The 19-year-old right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over a season-high six scoreless innings. He induced 11 swings-and-misses with his 72 pitches (50 strikes) to pick up his fourth winning decision of the year. Reidis Sena, who was making his 2023 debut, and Marques Johnson preserved the shutout bid by putting up zeroes the rest of the way. 

Karson Simas was the only member of Salem's starting lineup to record multiple hits, as the No. 9 hitter went 2 for 3 with a run and stolen base. He also made a fantastic diving catch in left field to rob Moises Ballesteros of a leadoff hit in the bottom of the seventh. Leadoff man Roman Anthony went 1 for 4 with a two-run triple and run scored. Allan Castro went 1 for 4 with an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to seven games.


Player of the Day: Brainer Bonaci closed out the month the way he started it: with a multi-hit game. In 22 May contests, the 20-year-old infielder batted .356/.414/.556 with seven doubles, one triple, three homers, 18 RBIs, 12 runs scored, four stolen bases, nine walks, and 20 strikeouts over 99 trips to the plate. He is currently ranked as the No. 25 prospect in the organization but could soon be moving up the list.

Photo Credit: Brainer Bonaci by Kelly O'Connor