MYRTLE BEACH, SC (Saturday, August 5, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox rallied to erase an early three-run deficit, but couldn't keep up with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, falling 4-3 Saturday night at TicketReturn.com Field.
The Sox (23-20, 63-49) dropped their fifth game of six played so far on this road trip, and need a win Sunday to salvage a series split. The Pelicans (16-26, 59-53) moved back to .500 on the season at home, despite the departure of several of their best players via trade as the Chicago Cubs look to stock up for the playoffs.
The Pelicans opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Salem starter Matthew Kent. First, Zack Short led off the inning with a solo homer to left, his fourth dinger of the season. P.J. Higgins followed that up with a single, and Trent Giambrone punished a fastball over the left field wall for a two-run tater to make it a 3-0 lead for the Pelicans.
Salem got on the board in the top of the second inning against Myrtle Beach starter Ryan Kellogg. Jose Sermo drew a leadoff walk, and Jordan Betts doubled him to third. Austin Rei hit a bouncer to the left side, and reached first as Sermo was thrown out at the plate trying to score. Mike Meyers singled to left, loading the bases, and Jhon Nunez plated Betts with a sacrifice fly to right to trim the lead to 3-1.
The Sox drew even in the top of the fourth inning, as Sermo led off the frame with a single. With one away, Rei doubled to left to score Sermo, and Meyers followed with an RBI double of his own to left to tie the game at 3-3. The Sox got two runners on in the sixth, as Kellogg walked Rei and Meyers with one away, but new reliever Jordan Minch (W, 1-3) fanned Nunez and got Tyler Spoon to bounce into a force-out to end the inning.
Myrtle Beach retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth, as Jesse Hodges jumped all over a fastball from Kent, sending it out to left field for a solo homer to make it a 4-3 lead for the Pelicans. That was all Myrtle Beach would need, as Dakota Mekkes delivered two no-hit innings to push the Sox to the brink. Pedro Araujo (S, 9) walked Tate Matheny with two outs in the ninth, but Matheny was caught trying to steal second, ending the game.
Kent surrendered four runs on eight hits (including a career-worst three homers) and one walk in seven innings, fanning seven. Matthew Gorst allowed one hit in a scoreless inning of relief in his high-A debut.
The Sox look for a series split Sunday night, with lefty Logan Boyd toeing the slab for Salem against Myrtle Beach righty Duncan Robinson. First pitch from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark is at 6:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 5:45 p.m. on ESPN Roanoke, ESPN Blacksburg, and on the Red Sox Radio Network online.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.