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Jacobs blasts Salem over Mudcats

salem red soxBrandon Jacobs launched a no-doubter well beyond the left field fence, and the Salem Red Sox rejoiced for the second straight night after a walk-off win, taking down the Carolina Mudcats 7-5. Salem has now walked off en route to victory four times this year. The Red Sox walked off Friday night on a Nick Natoli single that scored Blake Swihart. You can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Natoli game-winner here, and click here for the audio to the Jacobs walk-off.

The bottom of the ninth started uneventfully, with the first two Sox set down by Louis Head. The Mudcats reliever picked up two quick strikes against Stefan Welch, but the first baseman battled back to draw a walk. That set the stage for Jacobs’ heroics. The home run gave the left fielder a 3-for-4 night with three RBIs and a walk. Head took the loss in his Carolina League debut following a call-up.

With wacky weather buzzing around the area overhead, the teams seesawed back and forth in the second game of Salem’s brief three-game homestand. Carolina scored once in the top of the first after leadoff hitter Tyler Naquin doubled and came home on a sacrifice fly. Salem plated one in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Henry Ramos doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Welch.

Red-hot Keury De La Cruz went 3-for-4. After he singled in the third, Jacobs drove him in with a single to right. Both of Jacobs’ first two hits went the opposite way, before he yanked the walk-off homer to left.

Salem led 2-1 until the sixth, when Sox starter Mike Augliera surrendered three more runs (two earned), temporarily putting him on the hook. Augliera faced some poor luck when two likely double-play balls slipped under infielders’ gloves into the outfield. Nevertheless, he did surrender four hits and walk one in the frame. The Binghamton grad induced a third double-play ball that was turned successfully to end the inning, limiting the damage to three runs and leaving the bases loaded. Augliera finished with a no-decision, allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings, walking three and striking out two.

In the seventh, Salem reliever Nefi Ogando allowed Joey Wendle to homer, which put the Mudcats on top 5-2. Ogando did pitch a scoreless eighth.

Carolina starter Nick Pasquale left his outing in line for his first Carolina league victory in nine starts, but finished with a no decision. He permitted two runs on eight hits in six innings, walking one and striking out three.

Unfortunately for Pasquale, his relievers let him down. Grant Sides entered in the bottom of the seventh and immediately encountered control problems after Pasquale had been pounding the strike zone. Sides gave up a leadoff single to Ramos, who finished 3-for-5. The reliever would go on to walk Deven Marrero, allow De La Cruz to double (which drove in Ramos), throw a wild pitch (which brought Marrero home), walk Jacobs, and allow the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Blake Swihart. All told, Sides allowed three runs in the inning, which evened the contest at five.

Despite loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter in the top of the ninth, Matt Price found his way out of the inning. He struck out cleanup hitter Jerrud Sabourin before getting Jordan Smith to ground out to end the inning. Price earned the win, improving to 3-0 on the season.

The Red Sox and Mudcats square off for the series finale Sunday at 4:00 pm. Henry Owens will pitch for Salem against Cody Anderson for Carolina.

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