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Cup of Coffee: Salcedo dominates, Jimenez drives in three in key FCL Sox win

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7/9 Cup of Coffee:
A key division matchup in the Florida Complex League took center stage, with the FCL Sox knocking off the Rays to move within a 1/2 game of first place in the South Division. In the Dominican Republic, the Red squad was held at bay in a three-hit shutout, while Team Blue squandered a ninth-inning lead only to see the contest suspended due to rain in the 10th. 

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Entering the key head-to-head contest just 1 1/2 games out with 15 to play, the FCL Sox pounded out 12 hits on their way to victory. Franklin Arias (pictured) continues to be the table-setter, going 2 for 5 with a stolen base and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Frederik Jimenez had a two-run single in the first inning and an RBI double in the sixth, adding a stolen base and a run scored. Deybi Salcedo was excellent in his start, scattering three hits across four scoreless innings, striking out three against one walk. Yonfi Rodriguez went 3 2/3 scoreless to pick up the win in relief. 

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Team Red fell to 17-7 on the year but still hold onto a 2 1/2 game lead in their division. They cobbled together just three hits in the loss, none for extra bases. Anderson Fermin reached base twice, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base to raise his average to .310. Dariel Morillo took the loss, giving up three runs in three innings.

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Knotted at 5-5 in the 10th, this contest was suspended due to rain and lightning. If and when the game does resume (no completion date is listed on the schedule), Moises Bolivar will have a chance to complete the cycle. The third baseman was 3 for 3 with a single, double, and triple, along with two walks, and will bat second in the bottom of the 10th inning. Ilan Fernandez also had three hits, all singles, along with a walk. Abis Prado got the start, allowing two runs in three innings. Yoelvin Chirino was a highlight out of the bullpen, allowing one unearned run on two hits in four innings, walking one and striking out eight of the 15 batters he faced.

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Player of the Day: Despite his part-time role, Frederik Jimenez has been a key performer in the FCL Sox playoff hunt. The first baseman drove in three in his team's 9-6 win, picking up a pair of hits to bring his season line to .339/.449/.482. Jimenez was signed in December 2022 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic to a modest $10,000 bonus. 

Photo Credit: Franklin Arias by Kelly O'Connor

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