SALEM, VA (May 18, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox staved off a four-game sweep by topping the Frederick Keys 10-7 in a game that got close late Thursday night at Haley Toyota Stadium in Salem.
The Red Sox (25-15) bounced back after having lost three straight for the first time in the 2017 season, scoring all their runs in the first three innings. Frederick (21-19) ran off seven unanswered runs late in the game, but couldn't complete the comeback or the sweep. The Sox extended their Northern Division lead back to four games with the win.
Salem drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning against Cody Sedlock (L, 4-2), who'd held the Sox to just one hit in his previous start against them at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. Michael Chavis turned on a fastball and sent it an estimated 422 feet to left for a solo homer, his eighth long ball of the season, to put Salem ahead 1-0. The Sox extended their lead in the bottom of the second, as Austin Rei belted his second homer of the year with one out and the bases empty. Jordan Betts followed that with a double to left field, and with two out, Tate Matheny tripled to bring Betts home. Chad De La Guerra then shot a double to left, plating Matheny and running the lead to 4-0.
The hosts blew the game wide open in the bottom of the third inning. Josh Ockimey drew a leadoff walk from Sedlock before Trenton Kemp slashed a double to left, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Mike Meyers fanned, but Rei singled to score Ockimey, and Jordan Betts brought Kemp home on a single of his own. Nick Lovullo worked a walk, spelling the end for Sedlock, as the Keys brought on reliever Franderlin Romero. Matheny earned a sacrifice fly that scored Rei and advanced Betts to third, and De La Guerra tripled the runners home before scoring on a wild pitch by Romero to make it a 10-0 lead for Salem.
Frederick got on the board in the top of the fifth against Sox reliever Jordan Weems, who allowed a solo homer to leadoff man Ademar Rifaela to cut the lead to 10-1. Weems gave up a few more in the top of the sixth inning; Ricardo Andujar drew a leadoff walk, and Stevie Wilkerson singled to put runners at first and second. Austin Hays doubled the runners home before Rifaela sliced a single to center to score Hays and make it a 10-4 game.
The Keys made things interesting in the top of the seventh inning, as Steve Laurino cracked a one-out single and Weems hit Andujar to put runners at first and second with one away. Yankory Pimentel (W, 2-1) came in for Weems, but Ockimey threw the ball away trying to retire Andujar at second on a grounder by Wilkerson, allowing Laurino to score on the error. Austin Hays doubled Andujar home, and a Ryan Mountcastle groundout allowed Wilkerson to score to slice Salem's advantage down to 10-7 before Shane Hoelscher flew out to end the inning. Frederick had the tying run at the plate with one out in the eighth, but Pimentel got Laurino and Andujar to ground out to end the inning, and Bobby Poyner (S, 4) set down the side in order in the ninth to secure the win.
Starting pitcher Daniel McGrath took a no-decision with 3.2 scoreless frames, allowing six hits and three walks while fanning two. Weems allowed seven runs (six earned) on five hits and a walk in 2.2 innings of relief with one strikeout. Pimentel earned the win with 1.2 innings of relief, surrendering two hits and a walk. Poyner pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his fourth save.
The Sox will try to carry the positive momentum into their series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Friday, with lefty Dedgar Jimenez making the start for Salem against Pelicans righty Oscar De La Cruz. 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.