LYNCHBURG, VA (Friday, July 7, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox rallied late but ultimately couldn't overcome a costly error with the bases loaded, losing 5-4 Friday to the Lynchburg Hillcats at Calvin Falwell Field in Lynchburg.
The Sox (10-6, 50-35) fell just short of their fifth straight victory, drawing to within one run in the top of the eighth but getting no closer. Lynchburg (11-5, 51-34) extended their lead against the Sox in 2018 to a 10-8 mark, and avoided getting their third straight loss.
Lynchburg opened the scoring in the bottom of the third against Sox starting pitcher Roniel Raudes (L, 2-6). Jodd Carter drew a leadoff walk, and Jorma Rodriguez smacked a one-out double to right. The two-bagger was enough to score Carter and give Lynchburg the 1-0 lead.
Salem answered in the top of the fourth against Lynchburg starter Shane Bieber (W, 5-1). Josh Ockimey led off with a double to left, moved to third on a groundout up the middle by Tyler Spoon, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Rei, tying the game at 1-1.
The Hillcats retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth frame. Carter and Daniel Salters rapped consecutive singles off Raudes, and Rodriguez bunted them ahead to second and third. Sam Haggerty lofted a sacrifice fly to center, plating Carter to put Lynchburg in front 2-1.
Lynchburg jumped far ahead in the bottom of the sixth. Raudes gave up consecutive singles to Sicnarf Loopstok and Connor Marabell before walking Gavin Collins to load the bases. The righty was able to fan Anthony Miller and Carter, but mishandled a soft chopper back to the mound by Daniel Salters; the error allowed Loopstok to score and prolonged the inning. New reliever Austin Glorius gave up a two-run single to Rodriguez, and the Sox fell behind 5-1.
Salem drew closer in the top of the seventh. With one out, Tate Matheny banged a triple off the right field wall, and came in to score on a double by Jordan Betts, who advanced to third on a wild pitch by Bieber. Victor Acosta hit a ground out to second, scoring Matheny and trimming the margin to 5-3.
The Sox hewed closer again in the top of the eighth against new reliever Jared Robinson (H, 4), who surrendered a one-out single to Jeremy Rivera. Ockimey struck out, but Tyler Spoon ripped a double into the left-center field gap, plating Rivera. New pitcher Leandro Linares (S, 5) came on, and got Rei to fly out to center to end the inning with Salem still trailing 5-4. Linares set the side down in order in the ninth to end Salem's comeback hopes.
Raudes gave up five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks in 5.2 innings, fanning a season-high seven batters in the loss. Glorius gave up only one hit and two walks in a season-long 3.1 frames, and struck out four.
The Sox will try to get back on the winning track Saturday night, with All-Star lefty Dedgar Jimenez making the start for Salem against Lynchburg righty Aaron Civale. First pitch from Calvin Falwell Field is at 6:00 p.m., and Ben Gellman has the call on the Red Sox Radio Network starting at 5:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.