SALEM, VA (Sunday, May 13) - The Salem Red Sox finished up a deeply unfortunate homestand Sunday afternoon, losing 6-2 to the Lynchburg Hillcats at Haley Toyota Field and going winless on their seven-game stint at home.
Salem (17-20) lost their eighth straight game and ninth straight at home, marking the second 0-7 homestand in the Red Sox era. Lynchburg (19-17) picked up their fifth straight win and first sweep of the Sox since August 18-20, 2017. Santiago Espinal collected two hits to extend his season-best hitting streak to 12 games.
The Hillcats struck first in the top of the first inning against Salem starter Roniel Raudes (L, 2-4), who walked Conner Capel with one out. Li-Jen Chu singled Capel to second, and Gavin Collins sliced a single past the infield, scoring Capel and putting the Hillcats ahead 1-0.
Lynchburg added another run in the top of the third. Luke Wakamatsu worked a leadoff walk, and moved to third on a couple of fly-outs to deep center. Collins came through again, rapping another single to right to plate Wakamatsu and run the lead to 2-0.
Salem got level in the bottom of the fifth against Lynchburg righty Felix Tati (W, 1-1), who walked Espinal and hit Tyler Hill with a pitch to begin the inning. Tati fanned C.J. Chatham, but Bobby Dalbec cracked an RBI single to left to score Espinal and move Hill up to second. With one out and Ryan Scott at the plate, Hill got caught between second and third, but Tati's throw was wild and ran up the line in foul territory to allow Hill to score and Dalbec to reach third. Scott walked, but Eddy Reynoso grounded into an inning-ending double play with the score tied at 2-2.
Lynchburg moved back in front in the top of the fifth inning. Mitch Longo cracked a leadoff double to right, and moved to third when Wakamatsu flew out to center. Capel ripped a liner back up the middle for a base hit, bringing in Capel and putting Lynchburg back ahead 3-2.
The Hillcats salted the game away in the top of the ninth. With one out, Algenis Martinez surrendered a single to Emmanuel Tapia and walked Dillon Persinger, leading the Sox to pull him for Matthew Gorst. Alexis Pantoja welcomed Gorst with a single to load the bases, and Longo followed it up with a two-run single before Wakamatsu singled home Pantoja for the final 6-2 margin.
Raudes surrendered three runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings, striking out three and registering his team-best fourth quality start. Martinez gave up two runs on a hit and a walk in 2.1 innings, striking out two. Gorst surrendered one run on three hits and a walk, recording two outs.
The Sox will have an off day to clear their heads before they head north for a three-game series against the Potomac Nationals on Tuesday. Righty Jake Thompson will make the start for Salem against P-Nats righty Kyle McGowin. First pitch from Pfitzner Stadium is at 7:05 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 6:45 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.