SALEM, VA (Saturday, July 15, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox got a big ninth-inning homer but couldn't quite complete the comeback or the sweep, falling 3-2 to the Potomac Nationals Saturday night in front of 4,575 fans at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The Sox (14-9, 53-37) gave up a run in the top of the first, ending their record streaks of three straight shutouts and 28.0 scoreless innings on defense. Potomac (7-14, 40-51) escaped Salem with a win to avoid the sweep by the Sox, and ended their offense's scoreless streak at 30.2 innings.
The Nationals opened the scoring in the top of the first against Sox starting pitcher Matthew Kent (L, 6-4). Victor Robles led off with a single to center, and moved to second on a bunt single by Jack Sundberg. Austin Davidson grounded into a fielder's choice, with Sundberg being retired at second and putting runners on the corners with one out. Ian Sagdal did the same, and Robles scored on the fielder's choice to make it 1-0.
Potomac doubled their lead in the top of the second. Jakson Reetz doubled to lead off, but was picked off by catcher Austin Rei. Dale Carey then doubled, and moved to third on a soft groundout by Matthew Page. With two outs, Rhett Wiseman sliced a single to center, plating Carey and extending Potomac's edge to 2-0.
After starting pitcher Austen Williams (W, 1-1) baffled the Sox over five innings to the tune of two hits and one walk, Potomac got one more in the top of the ninth against reliever Adam Lau, as Carey reached on a bunt single and stole second. With two outs, Rhett Wiseman hit a single to center, and Chris Madera whiffed on it; Carey scored and Wiseman reached third on the error as the Nationals assumed a 3-0 lead.
Salem made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth against Potomac reliever Nolan Sanburn (S, 1). With two outs, Austin Rei drew a walk, giving Tyler Spoon one more whack at the apple. The designated hitter didn't waste his opportunity, slamming a fastball 430 feet over the left field wall for a two-run homer. The blast was Spoon's first for Salem, and it brought the Sox within one run. However, Jordan Betts popped out to Page in foul territory, and the Sox couldn't complete the comeback.
Kent took the hard-luck loss for the Sox, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk while fanning five in six innings for a quality start. Jordan Weems threw two innings of scoreless relief, surrendering one hit against three strikeouts. Lau gave up a run on two hits and struck out one in his lone inning of work.
The Sox open a three-game set against the Carolina Mudcats Sunday afternoon, with righty Mike Shawaryn making the start for Salem against Carolina southpaw Frank Lopez. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is at 1:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman has the call on the Red Sox Radio Network starting at 12:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.