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Early push jumpstarts Salem victory

The Salem Sox delivered early and often against Potomac on Tuesday, scoring runs in four of the first six innings in a 7-4 victory over the P-Nats at Pfitzner Stadium. Salem scored three runs in the top of the first to support starter Stolmy Pimentel, who continued his resurgence with another solid outing.

Building upon his five-inning, two-hit performance last week against Potomac, Pimentel pitched into the sixth inning for the first time since May 9. The Dominican righthander gave up two solo home runs to Destin Hood, but the Nats managed little else, as Pimentel picked up his second victory in six starts with Salem. Pimentel threw 71 pitches in his outing, allowing three total runs on four hits, striking out two and walking a pair.

Salem provided cushion, scoring three times in the top of the first against Potomac starter Cameron Selik, who received little help from his defense. Derrik Gibson led off the game with a single and advanced to second as center fielder Eury Perez misplayed the ball, allowing it to trickle past him. After a Kolbrin Vitek single with one out, Bryce Brentz blasted a double to right field that Hood bobbled, enabling Vitek to come around and score along with Gibson. Brentz was credited with one RBI, advancing to third on the error, and Salem had a 2-0 lead. Miles Head then followed with an RBI groundout to give the Sox a three-run advantage.

Hood’s solo shot in the last of the first was countered in the top of the second, when Salem knocked Selik out of the game. With one out, Selik walked consecutive batters and then hit another to load the bases. Mitchell Clegg came on and was able to get out of the jam by giving up just one run, which came on an 8-4 fielder’s choice in which Perez threw out Gibson, who was unable to get to second in time.

Newcomer Heiker Meneses tripled to right-center to lead off the fourth for his first Carolina league hit. Two batters later, Josue Peley singled through the drawn-in infield to put Salem up 5-1. Hood countered in the last of the fourth with his second solo bomb of the game, this one to deep left-center.

The Sox got retaliated in the sixth, scoring twice on back-to-back two-out RBI singles from Gibson and Hissey. The clutch base knocks expanded Salem’s edge to 7-2.

Potomac added single runs in the last of the sixth and the eighth to creep back within three, but Will Latimer retired the P-Nats in order in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.

Salem went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position and eight of the nine batters recorded at least one hit. Gibson and Vitek had two knocks apiece with Vitek’s singles extending his hitting streak to seven games.

Hood was 3-for-4 with two solo homers, but the rest of the Potomac lineup went a combined 4-for-27 against the combination of Pimentel, Bayer, and Latimer.

Winners of six of the last eight, the Sox look to complete their second sweep of Potomac in as many weeks in the season series finale on Wednesday night. Ryan Pressly will get the start for Salem against Potomac’s Adam Olbrychowski. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

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