SALEM, VA (May 15, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox took a late lead but couldn't maintain it, dropping a 9-5 decision Monday night to the visiting Frederick Keys at Haley Toyota Field in Salem.
The Red Sox (24-13) fell behind early and only led very briefly in the game, falling after a very successful 5-1 road trip. The Keys (19-18) blanked the Sox over the last three innings, using shutdown performances from their bullpen's back end to hold onto the lead. The Sox batted just 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the loss.
Frederick opened the scoring in the top of the first against Red Sox starter Matthew Kent (ND), who gave up a one-out single to Austin Hays before Ryan Mountcastle tripled Hays home. Randolph Gassaway brought Mountcastle in on a grounder to the right side, making it 2-0.
Salem got on the board in the bottom of the first inning against Keys starting pitcher Ofelky Peralta (ND), who walked leadoff man Tate Matheny. With one out, Michael Chavis hammered an RBI double to left, scoring Matheny and trimming the lead to 2-1.
The Keys added on runs in the top of the second. Stuart Levy cracked a one-out double, and Stevie Wilkerson drew a two out walk. Hays lifted a fly ball to right field that Trenton Kemp muffed, allowing both runners to score and putting Frederick out front 4-1.
The Sox drew closer in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Rei doubled to lead off the inning, and advanced to third on a groundout by Bryan Hudson. With two outs, Matheny drew a walk, and moved to second on a passed ball by catcher Stuart Levy. Chad De La Guerra then laced a single to right, scoring the runners and cutting Frederick's lead to 4-3.
Salem jumped into the lead in the bottom of the sixth against Frederick reliever Zeke McGranahan. Hudson doubled with one out, and Matheny walked with two away. New reliever Mitch Horacek (BS, 1; W, 3-1) gave up a bouncer by De La Guerra that Horace threw away into right field; both runners scored, making it a 5-4 lead for Salem.
That advantage was short-lived, however, as new reliever Gerson Bautista (L, 2-1) walked Wilkerson to lead off the seventh inning before Hays doubled him to third. Mount castle singled Wilkerson home, and Gassaway ripped a double into the left field gap to score the two runners and put Frederick back ahead 7-5. The Keys added two more in the ninth against Adam Lau, who gave up a one-out single to Mountcastle and an RBI double to Gassaway before a two-out single plated Gassaway and gave Frederick their final 9-5 lead.
Kent took a no-decision, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk in six innings while striking out four. Bautista was saddled with the loss, surrendering three runs on four hits and a walk in two innings; he did register four strikeouts. Lau gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in one inning.
The Sox will try to get back on the winning track Tuesday night, with righty Shaun Anderson making his Salem debut against Keys righty Cody Sedlock. 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.