BUIES CREEK, NC (May 11, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox allowed the tying run on base in the ninth but held on to the lead Thursday night, topping the Buies Creek Astros 10-8 at Jim Perry Stadium for a series sweep.
The Red Sox (22-11) won their fourth consecutive game, and were victorious for the seventh time in their last eight tilts. Buies Creek (20-14) couldn't overcome a disastrous outing by their starter and fell victim to the sweep by the visitors. Salem is now a season-best 11 games above .500 with the win.
Salem began the scoring in the top of the second against Astros starting pitcher Brett Adcock (L, 0-1), as Kyri Washington hammered a fastball over the center field fence for a solo homer. It was his first dinger of the year, and it put the Sox ahead 1-0.
The Sox gained more ground in the top of the third inning. Tate Matheny ripped a leadoff double to left-center field, and moved to third on a bunt single by Chad De La Guerra. Michael Chavis then doubled to score Matheny, and De La Guerra came home on a fielder's choice off the bat of Josh Ockimey to make it a 4-0 lead.
Salem blew the game wide open in the top of the fourth. Jhon Nunez led off the frame with a solo homer to left field on a fastball from Adcock, the first homer of both players' professional careers. Matheny reached first on a fielder's choice, and moved up to third on a double by De La Guerra. Buies Creek skipper Omar Lopez yanked Adcock for reliever Carlos Sierra, and Chavis welcomed him with a two-run single to plate the runners and give Salem a 7-0 edge.
Buies Creek got on the board in the bottom of the fourth against Sox starter Roniel Raudes (ND). Kyle Tucker worked a one-out walk, and advanced to second on a single by Dexture McCall. A wild pitch by Raudes advanced the runners to second and third, and Eduardo De Oleo singled to score Tucker. Ryne Birk worked a walk to load the bases, and Anthony Hermelyn cracked a single of his own, scoring McCall and keeping the bases loaded. Raudes fanned Johnny Sewald before Sox manager Joe Oliver pulled him for reliever Jordan Weems (W, 3-1). A passed ball by Nunez allowed De Oleo to score, but Weems got Arturo Michelena to bounce out to Lovullo at second to end the inning with Salem leading 7-3.
Salem earned the runs back in the top of the fifth inning. Washington started the inning with a double, and came home on a two-bagger by Jose Sermo. Nunez grounded out to first base, and Sermo moved up to third. Lovullo singled Sermo home, and moved up to second on a wild pitch by Sierra before Matheny singled to score Lovullo and run the lead back to 10-3.
Buies Creek started chipping away in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Weems hit leadoff man McCall with a pitch. Weems then let McCall move to second on a wild pitch, and Eduardo De Oleo bounced a grounder to De La Guerra that the shortstop misplayed, allowing McCall to make it safely to third base. Ryne Birk lofted a sacrifice fly to plate McCall, and Johnny Sewald doubled De Oleo home with two outs to trim the lead to 10-5. The Astros got another run in the seventh, as Myles Straw drew a leadoff walk from new reliever Adam Lau and scored on a one-out double by Tucker to move the Astros into a 10-6 deficit. Buies Creek pushed yet another run across in the bottom of the eighth after Birk doubled to start the inning and Hermelyn singled him home to bring the Astros within a 10-7 distance.
The Astros made their last-minute move in the ninth inning, as Tucker lofted a triple to right field off new reliever Bobby Poyner (S, 2) before McCall brought him home with a 6-3 RBI groundout. De Oleo flew out to center, but Poyner gave up a single to Birk before a wild pitch advanced the runner to second base. Hermelyn walked to put the tying run on base, but Poyner was able to fan Sewald to end the game.
Raudes took a no-decision, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings of work, fanning five. Weems was credited with the win, surrendering two unearned runs on a hit over 2.1 frames and whiffing two. Lau gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over two innings and recorded three strikeouts. Poyner struck out one batter against two hits, a walk and an earned run in the ninth for the save.
The Sox will aim for their fifth straight win Friday night as they open up at the Potomac nationals, with southpaw Daniel McGrath starting for Salem against Nationals righty Wirkin Estevez. First pitch at Pfitzner Stadium 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.