SALEM, VA (May 19, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox sent a record crowd of 8,847 home with an indelible memory Friday night, erasing a three-run deficit in the ninth inning and scoring the winning run in the 10th to top the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-6 at Haley Toyota Stadium in Salem.
The Red Sox (26-15) trailed from the second inning until the ninth, when they scored three runs with two outs to even up the ballgame before snagging their fifth walk-off victory of the season in the 10th frame. The Pelicans (22-20) blew a save for just the second time all season, with a bullpen that entered the game with a sterling 2.85 ERA. The crowd obliterated the previous record of 8,389 fans at Salem Memorial Ballpark, set on Saturday, June 28, 1997 against the Durham Bulls.
Salem opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Pelicans starting pitcher Oscar De La Cruz (ND), who served up a solo homer to Chad De La Guerra to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Myrtle Beach struck back in the top of the second against Sox starter Dedgar Jimenez (ND). Leadoff man Tyler Alamo doubled to left and Matt Rose brought him home on a single to center that Tate Matheny whiffed on, allowing the ball to roll to the wall. Rose reached third on the play, and came in on a one-out ground out by Andruw Monasterio to put Myrtle Beach in front 2-1.
The Pelicans jumped further ahead in the top of the sixth; Daniel Spingola led off with a double, and came around to score on Eddy Martinez's single when Mike Meyers bobbled the ball in right field. Martinez advanced to second on the throw, and stole third as Alamo struck out for the second out. New reliever Gerson Bautista gave up an RBI single by Rose, bringing home Martinez to run the lead to 4-1.
Salem closed in against their rivals in the bottom of the sixth, as Michael Chavis was hit by a pitch from De La Cruz and Josh Ockimey drew a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs. Meyers dropped a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third base, and the Pelicans brought in reliever Michael Rucker to try and hold off the Sox. Jordan Betts brought home Chavis on a sacrifice fly, and Rei doubled to plate Ockimey and trim the lead to 6-5. Bryan Hudson reached on an error by third baseman Jesse Hodges, but Rei was tagged out trying to come around and score on the play, ending the inning.
Myrtle Beach added some insurance in the top of the eighth, as Bautista walked Hodges to start the frame. Eddy Martinez hit a bouncer back to the mound, and Bautista threw the ball away, allowing Hodges to race around and score, with Martinez reaching second on the play. With two outs, Adonis Paula hit a sharp liner through the left side, and Hodges scored to run the lead to 6-3.
After Trevor Kelley (W, 1-0) set the side down in order in the top of the ninth, the Sox staged their comeback in the bottom of the ninth against Myrtle Beach reliever Dillon Maples (BS, 1). Hudson singled to start the inning, putting speed on the bases. Steven Reveles hit a bouncer to second, and Hudson was retired on the force out, but Reveles beat out the throw to first on the fielder's choice. On ball four to Matheny, Reveles was attempting a steal of second, and the pitch by Maples was wild, allowing Reveles to make it to third base and put runners at the corners with only one out. De La Guerra struck out looking, but Chavis lashed a triple into the right field corner, scoring both runners and putting the tying run just 90 feet from the plate. Ockimey came through in the clutch for the Sox, punching an RBI single through the right side to tie the game. Meyers also singled, chasing Maples from the game, but Scott Effross (L, 1-1) retired Betts on a bouncer back to the mound to end the inning.
Kelley got a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th, and Salem completed their mission in the bottom of the frame, as Effross gave up a two-out walk to Reveles. The runner pilfered second base, and Matheny hit a looping line drive to right field that just snuck over the glove of Martinez, allowing Reveles to race home with the winning run to touch off the celebration in front of the record crowd.
Jimenez took a no-decision, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits over 5.2 innings while registering five strikeouts. Bautista gave up two unearned runs on three hits and a walk, fanning two. Kelley earned the win with two perfect innings and two strikeouts for the Sox.
The Sox will look for their third straight win Saturday night, with lefty Matthew Kent making the start for Salem against Pelicans southpaw Ryan Kellogg. First pitch at Haley Toyota Field is set for 6:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 5:45 on the Red Sox Radio Network.
The Carolina League All-Star Game returns to Salem on Tuesday, June 20 at Haley Toyota Field. As part of a celebration of 50 years of Carolina League baseball in the Roanoke Valley, the Red Sox will host a skills competition on Monday, June 19. The skills competition will take place at historic Kiwanis Field, the original home of Carolina League baseball in Salem. All 2017 Salem Red Sox season ticket holders will have tickets to the skills competition and the All-Star Classic at Haley Toyota Field included in their ticket package.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.