NORFOLK, Va. (Tides Release) – The Norfolk Coffee (2-2) scored early and often to defeat the Charlotte Knights (2-2), 12-1, Friday night at Harbor Park.
It was the first time since June 3, 2021, that Norfolk has scored at least 12 runs in a game and it is the first time since May 4, 2019, that the Coffee has scored 12 runs at this ballpark.
Grayson Rodriguez, the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball, did not disappoint in his Triple-A debut. After walking the first batter he faced, Rodriguez retired the next 10 batters he faced and at one point had a stretch of five-straight strikeouts, including striking out the side in the third. He totaled seven strikeouts and allowed just one hit, a double in the fourth to Seby Zavala.
Rodriguez received more than support from the Coffee offense, which scored four times in the first. Terrin Vavra started the frame with a triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Yusniel Diaz. A few batters later, Johnny Rizer blasted the first home run of his Triple-A career, a three-run shot with two outs, to open up a 4-0 lead.
Robert Neustrom and Rylan Bannon each slugged solo shots in the third and fifth innings respectively, their first home runs of the season, to extend the Coffee lead to 8-0.
Bannon went 4-for-4 in the contest, marking the first four-hit performance by a Coffee player this season, which also matched his career high.
Ryan Conroy and Matt Vogel followed Rodriguez out of the bullpen, with the pair also making their Triple-A debuts. They combined to allow one run on four hits in 3.0 innings, while amassing five strikeouts. Coffee relievers fanned a total of 14 batters, a season-high.
Eight of the nine starters reached base safely and seven different Coffee players scored a run. Six starters also recorded an extra-base hit, as the Coffee totaled seven extra-base hits
Norfolk returns to action tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m., as the Tides, facing Charlotte in the fifth game of this six- game homestand. RHP Kyle Brnovich (0-0, -.–) makes his first start of the season for Norfolk and will make his Triple-A debut. He faces RHP Kade McClure (0-0, 1.93) who takes the mound for Charlotte.
- FAST STARTS: The Coffee scored four runs in the first inning and have scored six runs in the first inning this season. That is the most runs scored in the first inning in the International League.
- K-ROD: Grayson Rodriguez struck out seven batters over 4.0 shutout innings of work in his Triple-A debut, all swinging strikeouts. The Coffee starters entered today with six strikeouts over 6.2 innings.
- THREE’S COMPANY: The Tides hit three home runs tonight, the first time they have hit at least three home runs in consecutive games since July 13-14, 2019, at Durham. This is the first time since becoming an Orioles affiliate that the Tides have hit at least three home runs in back-to-back games at Harbor Park.