SALEM, VA (June 13, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox gave up a one-run lead by surrendering a grand slam and fell short of a third straight win Tuesday night, falling 6-3 to the visiting Carolina Mudcats at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The Sox (40-25) failed to gain ground in the playoff race, and issued nine walks to the visitors in the loss. The Mudcats (34-30) snapped a three-game skid of their own, and kept their first-half division title hopes theoretically alive. The grand slam hit by Carolina was the first Salem had allowed since Michael Kopech served one up against the Winston-Salem Dash on August 31, 2016.
Carolina opened the scoring in the top of the first against Sox starter Shaun Anderson (ND), who allowed a one-out single to Troy Stokes Jr. before Stokes swiped second base. With two outs, Lucas Erceg clicked an RBI single through the right side, scoring Stokes and putting the Mudcats ahead 1-0. Carolina tacked on another in the top of the third inning, as Anderson hit Stokes and walked Isan Diaz before Jake Gatewood moved Stokes to third with a fly out to Granger Studdard in right. Erceg plated Stokes on a sacrifice fly double play, extending the Mudcats' lead to 2-0.
Salem jumped ahead in the bottom of the third against Carolina starting pitcher Freddy Peralta (W, 1-3). Josh Ockimey and Mike Meyers earned consecutive one-out walks, and after a wild pitch moved the runners up a base, Austin Rei earned a free pass with two outs to load the bases. With Studdard at the plate, Peralta uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Ockimey to score and putting runners at second and third. Studdard then chopped a single through the middle to score the runners for his first Salem hit, and it put Salem ahead 3-2.
The Mudcats blasted their way back into the lead in the top of the sixth against Sox reliever Daniel McGrath (L, 1-6). With one out, McGrath walked Cooper Hummel and Weston Wilson before fanning Carlos Belonis. However, McGrath then walked Corey Ray to load the bases for Stokes, who lifted a wall-scraper over the fence in left for a grand slam, giving Carolina their final 6-3 edge. Salem's last 12 batters were retired in order, including a 1-2-3 ninth by Mudcats closer Nate Griep (S, 12).
Anderson took a no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in four innings while whiffing four batters. McGrath coughed up four runs on four walks and one hit in two frames, fanning three. Adam Lau pitched two shutout frames of relief with three hits and a walk against two strikeouts. Jordan Weems recorded a scoreless inning of relief with one hit allowed.
The Sox will go for the series win Wednesday night, with righty Roniel Raudes on the hill for Salem against Carolina southpaw Kodi Medeiros. First pitch from 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.