LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jantzen Witte recorded three hits, and the Pawtucket Red Sox utilized a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Louisville Bats, 6-2, and claim the rubber meeting of the three-game series Thursday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
Pawtucket's early 3-0 lead turned into a one-run cushion into the late innings, but the PawSox (53-61) scored three runs on three straight pitches in the seventh to bookend their series with the Bats (51-62) with a pair of wins.
Witte followed up his two-hit performance Wednesday with a 3-for-4 showing in Thursday's finale. The 28-year-old has driven in six runs in five games since returning to Pawtucket from Double-A Portland on Saturday. Catcher Óscar Hernández extended his hitting streak to a season-long seven games, during which he's 10-for-26 (.385). Center fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-5, RBI) boosted his International League-leading hit total to 133, and the 31-year-old All-Star has 32 hits in 20 games since he came off the disabled list - the most in all of Triple-A in that time. Left fielder Sam Travis (2-for-5, R, RBI) had a pair of knocks as well in Pawtucket's 13-hit effort.
In his second career Triple-A appearance, Pawtucket starter Mike Shawaryn (W, 1-0) fanned seven in five effective innings of two-run ball. The 23-year old right-hander from New Jersey began his evening by striking out the side in the first inning on just 11 pitches. Sidearm right-hander Trevor Kelley then struck out four across two shutout innings, lowering his Triple-A ERA to 1.47, and Marcus Walden took care of the eighth and ninth.
Louisville starter Tyler Mahle (L, 0-1), who made 22 starts for the Reds this season before he was optioned Friday, ceded three runs in six innings.
Pawtucket started the scoring in the top of the second inning when shortstop Mike Miller ripped an opposite-field RBI single into right field to plate Witte.
In the third, the PawSox tacked on, as Castillo supplied an RBI double to center, and third baseman Brandon Phillips followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to stretch the margin to 3-0.
Louisville cracked the score column in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI infield single bounced over the mound by Bats right fielder Gabriel Guerrero. Louisville third baseman D.J. Peterson then coaxed a bases-loaded walk to trim Pawtucket's advantage to 3-2.
The PawSox doubled their lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning when left fielder Sam Travis scored leadoff man Tony Renda with an RBI single. Designated hitter Josh Ockimey then blooped an RBI double into left field to score Phillips, and Witte extended the gap to 6-2 on an RBI infield single.
Following the three-game series in Louisville, the PawSox now head to Indianapolis and open up a three-game weekend set - beginning Friday at 7:15 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander William Cuevas (8-6, 3.45) is scheduled to oppose Indianapolis lefty Brandon Waddell (4-6, 4.82). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
After the six-game road trip, the PawSox will return home August 13-19 (Monday-Sunday) to host Norfolk (Baltimore Orioles) and Durham (Tampa Bay Rays). Good tickets are available. Fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.