Bradley powers Salem

Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered hits in each of his first five at-bats, pacing Salem’s 16-hit barrage in Saturday’s 9-4 triumph over Myrtle Beach at TicketReturn.Com Field.

Bradley finished 5-for-6 and drove in three runs as the Sox moved within a game of the first-place Winston-Salem Dash. At 19-14, Salem is five games above .500 for the first time all season.

The floodgates opened early as Salem led 1-0 after one, 4-0 after two, and 7-zip at the midway mark. After Bradley doubled to begin the ballgame, Travis Shaw singled him home to lift the Sox to the early edge just three batters in. One frame later, three straight Sox reached to begin the frame, with Michael Almanzar’s double preceding Shannon Wilkerson’s single and Carson Blair’s RBI double. James Kang smashed the first of his two sac flies to bring home Wilkerson, while Bradley’s second hit of the night plated Blair and gave Salem a 4-0 lead.

Salem starter Drake Britton worked in and out of trouble repeatedly on the mound. In each of his first three innings, the Pelicans put multiple men aboard but never capitalized with a clutch hit. Myrtle Beach stranded eight men over the first four innings, as Britton held the Birds scoreless during his four-innings on the hill. He allowed four hits and four walks, receiving a no-decision since he could not complete the five innings required to pick up a W.

Myrtle Beach starter Nick Tepesch settled down after his first two bumpy frames, holding the Sox scoreless in the third and fourth. But Salem rallied for three straight singles to commence the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out. Carson Blair smashed a one-out single to drive in a pair and give the Sox a 6-0 lead, and Bradley’s fourth hit (he singled and was stranded in the fourth for his third knock) drove in Blair again and put the Sox up by seven.

Manny Rivera relieved Britton in the fifth and the Pelicans plated one run immediately, adding two more in the sixth and one more in the seventh. But despite allowing four runs on seven hits in three frames, Rivera earned the win to improve to 3-2. Andrew Jones entered in the eighth and dealt a pair of shutdown innings to close it out and preserve the win.

Aside from Bradley’s five-hit performance, four other Sox added multiple knocks on the night. Blair, like Bradley, drove in three runs, while Kang was the lone Red Sock to finish without a hit. He did, however, drive in two runs on sac flies and walked once.

Salem will seek a sweep of Myrtle Beach in Sunday’s series finale, a 3:05 matinee in South Carolina. Miguel Celestino is slated to take the mound for the Sox opposite Kyle Hendricks for the Birds.


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