With one shutout win already in the books for Salem, Justin Haley figured a second one would make for a perfect night.
Haley pitched a seven-inning three-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout Friday as Class A Advanced Salem wrapped up a doubleheader sweep of Carolina with a 2-0 win at Five County Stadium.
After Corey Littrell went six innings in a 3-0 win in the opener, Haley cruised early with the help of his defense. The Red Sox turned inning-ending double plays in the second and third, and Haley stranded runners in scoring position in the fifth and seventh.
"The big thing that [pitching coach Kevin] Walker preaches to us as a staff is reading hitters," said Haley, who issued one walk. "Today, our approach was the same as every start: go in, attack with the fastball and make them show that they can hit the fastball before you really start going to anything else. That was our approach, and we really stuck with it. They showed that they couldn't hit the fastball tonight, for whatever reason."
Haley (3-0) retired the side in order in the first, fourth and sixth and matched a career high with nine strikeouts.
"We're reading the hitters, we're reading the swings," he said. "Their approach changes throughout the game, as the game dictates. We did that to an extent, but basically, it was just staying with our approach and attacking them with what we knew was working."
Friday's start was Haley's third of the season due to a piggyback system the Red Sox have employed. In those three outings, the Fresno State product is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, .177 opponents' batting average and 19 strikeouts against five walks.
"There's a lot of things you can't control, especially as a Minor Leaguer, in this game. Choosing when and where you throw is definitely one of them," Haley said. "I just do what I can control. I go out and try to have the best outing, no matter what role I'm in."
With two outs in the fourth, Salem did all the scoring Haley needed. Jayson Hernandez singled and Dreily Guerrero followed with his first homer of the season. It marked the third time in franchise history that Salem has shut out an opponent in both games of a doubleheader and the first since May 20, 2004 at Winston-Salem.
"As a staff, we love taking the momentum and rolling with it," Haley said, referring to Littrell's performance. "Everybody really gets on board. We've got a really spirited club, so when we get our momentum going, we can take off."
Carolina hitters mustered only six hits in the two games, striking out 19 times and going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Mudcats starter Michael Peoples (2-3) took the loss in the nightcap after allowing both runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts over four innings.