BUIES CREEK, NC (May 9, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox rode a career-best effort from starting pitcher Travis Lakins to a 6-1 victory over the Buies Creek Astros Wednesday night at Jim Perry Field in Buies Creek.
The Red Sox (20-11) earned a win for the fifth time in their last six games, and started off their six-game road stretch on the right foot. Buies Creek (20-12) didn't break through against Lakins (W, 5-0) until the sixth inning, and mustered only three hits in the entire game, marking a new low for a Salem opponent in 2017. The series matches the top two teams in the Carolina League to this point in the year.
Salem opened the scoring in the top of the first against Buies Creek starting pitcher Framber Valdez (L, 0-2). Tate Matheny drew a leadoff walk, and advanced to third on a two-out ground-rule double by Josh Ockimey. Trenton Kemp battered a fly off the wall in right, and Matheny and Ockimey both scored as Kemp reached third on a triple that made it 2-0 in Salem's favor.
The Sox doubled their lead in the top of the second. Mike Meyers cracked a leadoff single to left, and moved to second on a two-out walk by Matheny. De La Guerra smacked a line drive to right, scoring Meyers and moving Matheny to third. With Michael Chavis at the plate, Valdez uncorked a wild pitch that scored Matheny and ran the Salem lead to 4-0.
Buies Creek got on the board in the bottom of the sixth against Lakins, who gave up a leadoff double to Arturo Michelena to end the hurler's no-hit bid. Michelena made it to third on a throwing error by Kemp in right field. Jason Martin then brought Michelena home on a groundout to Ockimey at first base, trimming the lead to 6-1. Kyle Tucker cracked a two-out bloop double to left, but Lakins retired Anthony Hermelyn on a fly to right to end the inning with Salem leading 4-1.
The Sox got two runs in the top of the seventh, as Mike Meyers led off with a simple fly to center that Tucker lost in the lights, falling in for a single. Kyri Washington hit a fly to center that also bamboozled Tucker, and it went over his head for a double that brought Meyers in to score. With two outs, De La Guerra sliced a single through the middle, and Washington sped home to give the Sox the final 6-1 lead.
Lakins earned his fifth win of the season, allowing one run on two hits and four walks over a career-long 6.2 innings while whiffing eight. Yankory Pimentel gave up one hit against two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. Trevor Kelley pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game.
The Sox send southpaw Matthew Kent to the mound Wednesday night, and Buies Creek will counter with righty Hector Perez. First pitch at Jim Perry Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 6:45 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.