SALEM, VA (Saturday, May 12) - The Salem Red Sox set a new attendance record with 8,856 fans at Haley Toyota Field Saturday night, but were unable to send the fans home with a win, falling in record fashion to the Lynchburg Hillcats in an 18-1 loss.
Salem (17-19) dropped their seventh straight game and eighth straight at home, setting new Red Sox-era records for margin of defeat and runs surrendered in the game. Lynchburg (18-17) took the lead in the fourth and never looked back, romping the rest of the way. It's the first time Salem has lost eight in a row at home since April 20 through May 11, 1989.
Salem drew first blood in the bottom of the first against Lynchburg lefty Tanner Tully, who walked Santiago Espinal to start the frame. Brett Netzer hit a grounder to short that Luke Wakamatsu booted, and C.J. Chatham sliced an RBI single into right, scoring Espinal and putting the Sox in front 1-0.
Lynchburg evened things up in the top of the third against Salem starter Tanner Houck. Mitch Longo reached on a one-out single before Houck was able to induce a pop out from Wakamatsu for the second out. With Conner Capel at the plate, catcher Nick Sciortino appeared to pick Longo off first, but he was ruled safe by field umpire Isaias Barba. Capel proceeded to triple to center, scoring Longo and evening the game up at 1-1.
The Hillcats surged ahead in the top of the fourth inning, as Anthony Miller and Jodd Carter drew walks to start the frame, and Dillon Persinger singled with one out to load the bases. Alexis Pantoja brought in Miller on a sacrifice fly to left field for the first run of the frame, and Longo hit a bouncer to second that Netzer muffed, allowing Carter to score and Persinger to reach third on the error. With runners at the corners, Houck fired a pickoff to first to try to get Longo, but his throw was wild and let Persinger scamper home to give Lynchburg a 4-1 lead.
The Hillcats blew it open from there, scoring four in the fifth to chase Houck, adding four more in the seventh off reliever Hildemaro Requena, and dropping five (including a Longo grand slam) on Requena in the eighth inning. Infielder Carlos Tovar gave up one more run in the ninth for the final 18-1 margin.
Houck surrendered seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and three walks over four innings, fanning five. Requena was torched for 10 runs, eight of which were earned (both Red Sox-era records for a pitcher), on six hits and three walks while striking out two. Tovar gave up a run on two hits and three walks in 1.2 innings.
The Sox will try to change their fortunes Sunday afternoon, with righty Roniel Raudes starting against Hillcats righty Felix Tati. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field is at 2:05 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 1:45 p.m. on the Red Sox broadcast network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.