SALEM, VA (Tuesday, August 8, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox passed a tough test at home Tuesday night, nipping the visiting Buies Creek Astros 2-1 at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The Sox (25-20, 65-49) picked up their second straight win and managed to hold off one of the league's toughest teams in a possible preview of a Mills Cup matchup. The Astros (29-15, 66-48) fell short of a third straight victory, and failed to become the first team to win 30 games in the second half. The Sox moved to 6-1 on the season against the Astros, who own the league's best record since the All-Star break.
Salem took the early lead in the bottom of the first against Astros starting pitcher Matt Bower (ND), who allowed consecutive one-out singles to Jeremy Rivera and Conrad Gregor. Jose Sermo ripped a double down the left field line to score Rivera, but Gregor was tagged out trying for home on the play. The Sox still left the inning with the early 1-0 advantage.
Buies Creek answered in the top of the third against Salem starter Kyle Hart (ND), who surrendered a one-out single to Rodrigo Ayarza and walked Myles Straw. Stephen Wren hit a hard grounder to third that Jordan Betts dove and snagged, retiring Straw at second for the second out. However, Yordan Alvarez singled through the right side to score Ayarza. Jake Rogers drew a walk to load the bases, but Hart recovered to fan Taylor Jones and end the inning with the score tied 1-1.
Salem finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the eighth inning against Buies Creek reliever Jorge Alcala (L, 4-4), who gave up a leadoff single to Chris Madera before Rivera bunted him to second. The Astros intentionally walked Gregor, and Sermo flew out to deep center, allowing Madera to reach third . Betts then ripped a double up the left field line to score Madera, though Gregor was again tagged out trying to score at the plate. The Sox departed the eighth with a 2-1 lead that held up, as Adam Lau (W, 4-6) worked around a walk by Straw to close out the Astros and secure the win.
Hart allowed one run on six hits and three walks in five innings, fanning five. Harrison Cooney fired two scoreless innings of relief, surrendering two hits and two walks. Lau gave up three walks, but struck out two and earned the win in two shutout frames.
The Sox will look for a third straight win Tuesday, with righty Roniel Raudes due to make the start for the Sox against highly-touted Astros righty Forrest Whitley. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is at 7:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 6:45 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.