LILLINGTON, NC (Sunday, April 15) - The Salem Red Sox had their offense stuck in neutral Sunday afternoon as they were able to notch only three hits in a 5-0 loss to the Buies Creek Astros at Jim Perry Stadium in Lillington.
The Sox (7-4) were shut out by their hosts for the second straight game, as they were one-hit on Saturday. Buies Creek (6-5) benefited from a superb start by Corbin Martin (W, 1-0) and three innings of strong relief from Carlos Sierra (S, 1). Salem had not suffered consecutive shutouts since June 15 and 16 of 2017 at the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Buies Creek opened the scoring in the bottom of the second against Salem starter Bryan Mata. Ronnie Dawson got a hold of a 1-1 curveball and sent it over the wall the other way for a solo homer. The dinger was the first of the season for Dawson, and it put the Astros ahead 1-0.
The Astros added on in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Mata walked leadoff man Josh Rojas, Salem manager Joe Oliver pulled him for reliever Hunter Smith, who got called for a balk that sent Rojas to third base. Smith recovered to fan Abraham Toro, but Chuckie Robinson lined a double to left that scored Rojas. Osvaldo Duarte reached when Robinson was cut down at third on a fielder's choice, but Chas McCormick lashed a double to right that gave Duarte enough time to race home and run the lead to 3-0.
The gap widened again in the bottom of the sixth. Kristian Trompiz singled, Anibal Sierra drew a walk, and Ronnie Dawson bunted for a single to load the bases against Smith with nobody out. Rojas popped out in foul ground, but Toro blooped a single into left-center field to plate Trompiz and Sierra and extend the advantage to 5-0.
Mata allowed two runs on four hits and six walks while striking out two in four innings of action; his six walks were a new career high for the 18-year-old righty. Smith coughed up three runs on six hits and a walk in 1.2 innings, fanning one. Jared Oliver fired 1.1 innings of perfect relief with one strikeout. Daniel Gonzalez added one perfect frame of relief with one strikeout.
The Sox will open a three-game home series Monday night against the Potomac Nationals. Right-handed hurler Roniel Raudes takes the ball for Salem against P-Nats righty Sterling Sharp. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field is at 7:05 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Red Sox radio network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.