SALEM, VA (May 16, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox fell victim to a huge first inning Tuesday night, dropping a 9-4 game to the visiting Frederick Keys at Haley Toyota Field in Salem.
The Red Sox (24-14) couldn't overcome a six-run first inning by the visitors, and lost for the second consecutive night. Frederick (20-18) never trailed in the game and led by as many as eight runs. The loss is the third time this season that Salem has lost consecutive games.
Frederick rolled out to a big lead in the top of the first inning against Salem starting pitcher Shaun Anderson (L, 0-1). With one on and nobody out, Austin Hays pounded a two-run blast to left, and Ryan Mountcastle followed suit with a solo shot to left. Randolph Gassaway ground out, but Shane Hoelscher worked a walk, Ademar Rifaela singled, and Stuart Levy doubled to plate Hoelscher. With two outs, Steve Laurino singled the runners home before being tagged out trying to advance to second, ending the inning with Frederick ahead 6-0.
Salem got on the board in the bottom of the first against Frederick starter Keegan Akin (W, 3-3), who gave up a bunt single to leadoff man Tate Matheny and walked Chad De La Guerra. With one away, the Sox attempted a double steal, but De La Guerra was caught at second base, with Matheny making it to third. Josh Ockimey then laced a single through the left side, scoring Matheny and trimming the lead to 6-1.
The Keys got the run back in the top of the third, as Anderson walked Gassaway and Hoelscher to start the inning, and Rifaela singled Gassaway home to run the Frederick lead to 7-1. Frederick added on in the top of the eighth inning, as Laurino belted a two-run homer off reliever Trevor Kelley to extend the edge out to 9-1.
Salem got a run across in the ninth against Frederick reliever Mike Burke, as Nick Lovullo punched a one-out single to right, and moved to second on a bloop single by Matheny. De La Guerra sliced a single to right, scoring Lovullo, and Michael Chavis singled Matheny home as De La Guerra sped into third. Burke was yanked for lefty Luis Gonzalez, who whiffed Ockimey but gave up an RBI double to Trenton Kemp to cut the lead to 9-4. Gonzalez recovered to fan Mike Meyers and end the game.
Anderson took the loss in his Salem debut, allowing seven runs on 10 hits (both career-worst marks) and three walks in six innings, fanning four. Kelley gave up two runs on three hits in two frames while whiffing one. Bobby Poyner pitched the ninth, giving up one hit and one walk.
The Sox will try to right the ship Wednesday night, with righty Roniel Raudes making the start for Salem against Keys righty Reid Love. First pitch at Haley Toyota Field is set for 7:05 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.