Early surge lifts Salem
The Salem Sox weathered a 100 minute rain delay, jumped out to an early seven-run advantage and then hung on for a slim 9-7 victory over the Dash at BB&T Ballpark on Monday night. Salem’s offense provided early fireworks on Independence Day, scoring runs in each of the first four frames.
For the first time in the series, the Sox scored first, plating two runs in the first inning. Jorge Padron drove in a run on a groundout, while Miles Head singled in another run to put Salem up 2-zip against Winston starter Brad Furnish. The lefthander, making his White Sox organizational debut and pitching on just three days rest, was tattooed in the early going by the Sox bats.
Salem tacked on a run in the second, as Derrik Gibson singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and used aggressive base running to score. On a grounder to third, Gibson took off after the throw and slid in safely as the return throw from first sailed over the bag and into foul territory. Gibson scampered home on the error to give Salem a 3-1 lead, as the Dash had gotten a run on an RBI double from Jared Mitchell in the bottom of the first.
The Sox knocked Furnish out of the game an inning later when Padron tripled and scored on a wild pitch. But Leroy Hunt wasn’t much better, giving up two more base hits, the second of which was a two-RBI single from Wilfred Pichardo to put Salem up 6-1. Alex Valdez tacked on a run later in the frame, scoring on a wild pitch to put Salem up by six, just three innings into the game.
Brentz added to the Salem advantage in the fourth, driving in a run on a sacrifice fly that scored Vitek to put the Sox up by seven. From there on though, the Dash chipped away against Pete Ruiz and the Salem bullpen. In the fifth, Winston-Salem got three runs back as the first five men reached. Mitchell drove in his second run of the day on his second two-bagger, and Ian Gac laced an RBI single to left to draw the Dash back within three. Anatanaer Batista was able to work out of a bases loaded, no out jam, though, allowing just one run to score on a sacrifice fly by Mike Blanke.
However, the Dash were far from done in their comeback bid. In the sixth, Gac’s two-out RBI single brought the tying run to the plate, but Batista forced Andy Wilkins to fly out to right to end the threat. Batista worked around four baserunners in the inning, thanks in part to the cannon of Brentz in right, who nailed Tyler Saladino attempting to score from second on a single by Jose Martinez for the second out of the frame.
Salem got the run right back in the seventh, when Brentz tripled to right field and scored on an RBI double from Head. Leading 9-5, Kendal Volz entered in the last of the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs, but got Tyler Saladino to pop out to end the frame.
Volz wasn’t as fortunate in the eighth. Mitchell, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI, smacked a leadoff home run to slice the deficit to three, and Blanke delivered a clutch two-out single to drive in another and get the Dash back within two. Volz slammed the door, though, inducing a groundout from Nick Ciolli to prevent the Dash from the tying the game.
The righty from Baylor bounced back with a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his first Carolina League save and finally end the contest, which ended eight minutes after midnight.
Vitek led the Sox with three hits, including his 13th double of the season. Head and Gibson notched multi-hit games, while Head and Pichardo drove in two runs apiece. The first four batters in the Winston order went a combined 10-for-18 with five RBI and six runs scored, but the rest of the Dash lineup was 3-for-21 and Winston-Salem was a paltry 6-for-21 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners on base.
After combining for 49 runs and 76 hits in the first three games of the series, the Sox and Dash square off one more time on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. All-Star southpaw Chris Hernandez will get the nod against Winston’s Jake Petricka. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM.