KINSTON, NC (April 13, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox tied the game late Thursday but couldn't quite take the lead, and wound up falling 2-1 to the Down East Wood Ducks at Grainger Stadium in Kinston.
The Red Sox (3-5) trailed for most of the game before tying the score in the top of the seventh, but found themselves vexed by Wood Ducks outfielder Michael O'Neill. Down East (6-2) didn't allow an earned run in the game and overcame a 1-15 performance from the top five hitters in their lineup. Of the five games played between the two clubs in 2017, four have been decided by only one run.
Down East opened the scoring in the bottom of the second against Sox starting pitcher Daniel McGrath. With two away, O'Neill pulverized a fastball and sent it screaming over the left field fence for a solo blast, his second dinger of the season. The homer put Down East in front 1-0.
Salem evened things up in the top of the seventh against Down East reliever Brady Feigl. Leadoff man Matt McLean sliced a liner to left, but left fielder Ledarious Clark slipped and fell, and McLean hustled to second base on the error. Deiner Lopez sacrificed McLean to third base, and Bryan Hudson knocked him home with a single to left to tie the score at 1-1.
Down East retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth against Sox reliever Yankory Pimentel (L, 0-1). With one out, O'Neill spun a grounder up the third base line, reaching for a single before swiping second base. Josh Morgan popped out in foul ground, but Chuck Moorman laced a single to left field, plating O'Neill and giving Down East the 2-1 lead. Salem got the tying run to second base in the ninth inning with one out, but were unable to score, as Ricardo Rodriguez fanned Josh Tobias and Josh Ockimey to end the game.
McGrath took a no-decision, allowing just one run on two hits over six innings of action while striking out five. Pimentel was saddled with the loss, as he gave up a run on four hits and recording a strikeout in two innings of action.
The Sox will try to get back on the winning path Friday night, with righty Roniel Raudes taking the bump for Salem against Wood Ducks southpaw Jeffrey Springs. First pitch at Grainger 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.