SALEM, VA (Saturday, September 1) - The Salem Red Sox blew the lead late but were able to rise to the occasion Saturday night, with Tyler Hill's RBI single capping their walkoff 4-3 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats at Haley Toyota Field.
The Red Sox (31-37, 63-73) bounced back after dropping the first game of the doubleheader and losing three consecutive games in which they were outscored 30-3. The Hillcats (40-28, 68-66) could comfort themselves with the knowledge that they had clinched their spot in the Mills Cup playoffs earlier, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks lost to the Potomac Nationals.
Salem opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Lynchburg starter Jean Carlos Mejia (L, 0-1), who surrendered a leadoff double to Tyler Hill. Brett Netzer flew out to center, and Hill tagged up to reach third. Josh Tobias singled Hill home, and a single by Jerry Downs put runners at the corners. Michael Osinski lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Tobias and putting the Sox in front 2-0.
After Smith (ND) dazzled them through five frames, the Hillcats struck in the sixth against reliever Jared Oliver (W, 4-3; BS, 5). Josh Rolette led off with a single up the middle, and raced to third on a double by Dillon Persinger. Oliver recovered to fan both Mitch Longo and Trenton Brooks, but Anthony Miller lined a two-run double to right, tying the game. Emmanuel Tapia earned a walk, and Jose Medina knocked an RBI double off the wall in right to score Miller and put Lynchburg in front 3-2.
The Sox made their move in the bottom of the seventh. Osinski earned a leadoff walk, and went first to third on a hit-and-run single by Jake Romanski. The Hillcats yanked Mejia for reliever Kyle Nelson (BS, 1), who promptly gave up an RBI double on the first pitch to Ryan Scott. The Hillcats intentionally walked pinch hitter C.J. Chatham, loading the bases. Jagger Rusconi struck out, but Hill smashed a liner off the glove of shortstop Alexis Pantoja, and Romanski scored the winning run as the ball trickled into the outfield.
Smith allowed just two hits and a walk over his five innings, whiffing three. Oliver took the win, surrendering three runs on six hits and a walk while fanning four in two innings.
The Sox will try to build on the momentum of the win Sunday afternoon, with right-hander Denyi Reyes starting for Salem against Lynchburg righty Eli Morgan. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field is scheduled for 4:05 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 3:45 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.