WINSTON-SALEM, NC (June 10, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox fell short of a fifth straight win Saturday night, as repeated big innings from the Winston-Salem Dash doomed the Sox to a 10-4 loss at BB&T Ballpark.
The Sox (38-24) led early on but couldn't maintain their lead, as two wild pitches, a critical error and a curious umpiring call combined with less-than-elite pitching to kill Salem's chances at a win. The Dash (20-42) snapped a five-game losing streak to earn their 20th win of the season, and rolled up 11 hits and seven walks against the Sox. Salem's loss allowed the Lynchburg Hillcats to come within two games of the divisional lead after they defeated the Frederick Keys 5-4.
Salem opened the scoring in the top of the fourth against Winston-Salem starting pitcher Brannon Easterling. Trenton Kemp worked a walk to lead off the inning, and Jordan Betts smashed a two-run homer to left with two outs to put the Sox ahead 2-0.
The Dash answered in the bottom of the fourth against Sox starter Mike Shawaryn (L, 0-1), who allowed a one-out single to former Salem player Luis Alexander Basabe. Louis Silverio ripped a sharp ground ball past Michael Chavis' dive at third base, and Basabe raced around to score. With two outs, Aaron Schnurbusch poked a single through the middle, plating Silverio and tying the game at 2-2. Danny Mendick then lifted a wall-scraper over the left-field fence for a two-run blast of his own, putting Winston-Salem ahead 4-2. Winston-Salem loaded the bases, but new reliever Mitchell Osnowitz fanned Zack Collins with the bases loaded to end the frame and the threat.
Winston-Salem added more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Basabe singled with one out against Osnowitz before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Silverio bunted Basabe to third, and Brady Conlan brought Basabe in on an RBI groundout. Schnurbusch then lashed a double tightly up the left field line, and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Osnowitz as Mendick drew a walk, putting runners at the corners. With Gonzalez at the plate, Osnowitz started to deliver on a pitch, but thought the umpires had called for time. However, they hadn't, and the runners executed a double steal, plating Schnurbusch to make it 6-2 for the Dash.
Salem got a run back in the top of the sixth. Jose Sermo singled with one out, and Austin Rei hammered a double off the wall in left to score Sermo, trimming the lead to 6-3. However, Winston-Salem put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh against Sox reliever Jordan Weems. Basabe earned a leadoff walk and moved up to second on a fielder's choice that allowed Silverio to make it to first. Conlan singled, loading up the bases for the Dash. Schnurbusch fanned for the first out, but Mendick sliced an RBI single to right, keeping the bases loaded. Gonzalez then hit a bouncer to second that looked like it might start a double play, but Sermo's throw went into left field, and Gonzalez wound up at second with all three lead runners scoring to make it 10-3. Salem plated one more in the top of the eighth, as Betts brought Sermo in on a bloop single, but 10-4 was as close as Salem would get in the loss.
Shawaryn was touched up for four runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings, striking out five. Osnowitz surrendered two runs on two hits and three walks against one strikeout in 1.1 innings. Weems gave up four runs (two of them earned) on two hits and two walks, fanning two. Austin Glorius allowed two hits and recorded a strikeout in a scoreless inning of relief.
The Sox will to earn the series win Sunday afternoon, with lefty Dedgar Jimenez on the hill for Salem against Dash righty Dane Dunning. First pitch from BB&T Ballpark is set for 2:00 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 1:45 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.