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July 10, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Jordan and Hickey homer; Coffey and Blalock combine for 17 strikeouts

7/10 Cup of Coffee:
To close out the first half of the major-league season, Boston's minor-league affiliates went a perfect 3-0 on Sunday. In Worcester, Enmanuel Valdez enjoyed a strong afternoon at the plate while John Schreiber continued his rehab assignment. In Portland, Nathan Hickey crushed a two-run homer while Isaac Coffey fanned nine over 5 1/3 innings. In Greenville, Blaze Jordan (pictured) led a power surge at Fluor Field while Bradley Blalock tied a career-high with eight strikeouts in his latest start for the Drive. Salem's game was postponed due to rainy conditions in the Lynchburg area.


A three-run eighth inning lifted the WooSox to their third straight win over the Mets at Polar Park. Enmanuel Valdez led the way offensively by going 2 for 4 with an RBI triple that got his side on the board in the fourth inning and an RBI double that gave them the lead in the eighth. Ceddanne Rafaela also doubled and drove in a run as part of a 1 for 3 afternoon in which he crossed home plate twice. Bobby Dalbec went 2 for 4 with a game-tying single in the fourth while Nick Sogard went 2 for 3 with a walk. Despite going hitless, Ronaldo Hernandez collected an RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth.

Shane Drohan went three innings in his 10th start of the season for the WooSox. The 24-year-old lefty allowed just one run on four hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts. He finished with 53 pitches (34 strikes) and induced eight swings-and-misses. Veteran right-hander Kyle Barraclough took over for Drohan in the fourth and went another three innings, yielding two earned runs on five hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and three strikeouts. From there, John Schreiber, Justin Garza, and Andrew Politi closed it out by combining for three scoreless innings of relief. Garza earned the winning decision while Politi picked up his eighth save of the year.


One swing of the bat is all Portland needed to extend its winning streak to four on Sunday. After Chase Meidroth singled to lead off the fourth inning, Nathan Hickey delivered with a go-ahead, two-run home run off Binghamton starter Christian Scott. For Hickey, who went 1 for 3, the two-run blast was his ninth homer as a member of the Sea Dogs and his 13th of the season overall. Tyler Dearden was the only member of the Portland lineup to record multiple hits, as he went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles. Corey Rosier also stole his 30th base of the season after drawing a five-pitch walk in the first inning.

Isaac Coffey was solid in his fourth start of the season for the Sea Dogs. The 23-year-old righty allowed only one run on three hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. He gave up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to the last batter he faced in the top of the sixth before making way for Jacob Webb, who recorded the next five outs without surrendering anything else. Brendan Cellucci then worked his way in and out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth while Robert Kwiatkowski put up another zero in the ninth to notch the save.


On a steamy Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field, Blaze Jordan paced the Greenville lineup by going 2 for 4 with a double and a three-run homer out of the cleanup spot. The home run was his 12th of the season. On the topic of big flies, Eduardo Lopez and Nick Decker opened the scoring by going back-to-back to lead off the second inning. Lopez also added a single and walk as part of a productive 2 for 3 afternoon. Out of the leadoff spot, Roman Anthony went 1 for 2 with two walks and an RBI triple. Brainer Bonaci celebrated his 21st birthday by singling and scoring a run. 

Bradley Blalock was impressive in his fourth start of the season for the Drive. The 22-year-old righty tied a career-high with eight strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball in which he scattered four hits and did not walk a single batter. After giving up back-to-back doubles with one out in the top of the first, he retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced. Of the 85 pitches Blalock threw, 59 went for strikes and 17 were of the swing-and-miss variety. In relief of Blalock, Aaron Perry and Alex Hoppe each put up a zero before Joey Stock gave up two runs (one earned) in the ninth.


Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE), Salem Red Sox (Postponed)
Sunday's series finale between Lynchburg and Salem at Bank of the James Stadium was postponed due to inclement weather in the area. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader when the Hillcats travel to Salem to take on the Red Sox later this month.


Player of the Day: Blaze Jordan goes into the All-Star break on a high note. The 20-year-old infielder has recorded multiple hits in five of his last eight games and is batting a stout .387/.457/.645 with two doubles, two homers, eight RBIs, eight runs scored, and one stolen base in 35 plate appearances for Greenville since the calendar flipped from June to July. He is currently ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the organization and will reportedly begin the second half of the season with Portland. 

Photo Credit: Blaze Jordan by Kelly O'Connor