Carolina slips past Salem, 4-3
With the game tied at three in the sixth, Anthony Gallas drilled a sinking liner to right-center that narrowly fell out of the reach of the diving Shannon Wilkerson. From second base, Jesus Aguilar sprinted home to give the Mudcats a 4-3 lead, a score that stood up in Carolina’s one-run victory over Salem on Thursday night at Five County Stadium.
The Red Sox managed just one hit in four hit innings against the dominant Mudcats bullpen, making a winner of Shawn Armstrong, who deal two scoreless frames. Grant Sides and Jose Flores each pitched around two-out walks in the eighth and ninth innings, with the latter earning his 12th save of the season.
Bo Greenwell’s first inning solo homer off Miguel Celestino gave the Mudcats an early advantage, but the Salem Sox surged in front with four consecutive baserunners in the third inning. Matty Johnson doubled, Heiker Meneses walked, Travis Shaw singled to drive in one, and Brandon Jacobs single to score two more, giving the Sox a 3-1 lead against Carolina starter Michael Goodnight.
Tony Wolters launched another solo blast off Celestino in the bottom of the third to inch Carolina within one, while three singles in the fourth conspired to even the score at three. In the last of the sixth, Aguilar drew a leadoff walk which proved costly for the Sox. Following a sacrifice bunt and a fly-out to center, Gallas’ clutch two-out double eluded Wilkerson’s glove and gave the Mudcats a lead that they would not relinquish.
Celestino suffered the loss, his third straight defeat, falling to 5-5 on the season after yielding four runs on seven hits over five and two-thirds innings. In relief, Ryan Pressly dealt a scoreless inning and a third, while Mike Olmsted pitched one scoreless frame.
Gallas and Greenwell were the only multi-hit performers in the ballgame, as Salem scattered seven hits among seven different players.
The Sox and Mudcats will square off in the rubber tilt in the three-game series on Friday evening, with Manny Rivera set to start opposite Francisco Jimenez. First pitch is set for 7:15.