Eight-run fifth pushes Salem over P-Nats
A pitchers’ duel was transformed into a Red Sox rout very quickly on Wednesday night, with Salem scoring eight times in the last of the fifth to break a scoreless draw in a 10-1 triumph over Potomac at LewisGale Field. Bryce Brentz belted a two-run bomb, while Peter Hissey and Kolbrin Vitek each delivered three hits, two apiece in the eight-run fifth, to spark the lopsided victory. With five scoreless innings on the mound, Salem starter Stolmy Pimentel earned his first win of the season.
The first half of the game was a battle of solid righthanded pitching, with Pimentel yielding just two hits in his five frames on the hill. Potomac starter Paul Demny pitched around multiple baserunners in three of his first four innings, but managed to hold the Red Sox offense silent through the first four. With things still scoreless in the middle of the fifth, the Red Sox commenced their second-biggest inning of the season.
The rally began in unique fashion, with Hissey drilling an 0-2 offering into right-center for a leadoff double. At the time, it was Salem’s fifth hit, the third of which that had come on an 0-2 pitch. With Hissey at second, Vitek wasted no time at all, smacking the first pitch he saw into left-center for an RBI single, breaking the offensive seal at 1-0. Two pitches later, the Red Sox led 3-0 after Brentz clobbered another titanic round-tripper, a two-run dinger that easily cleared the left-field fence for his 14th Carolina League homer and his 25th overall.
Miles Head followed the long-ball with a single, and after a Jorge Padron fly-out, Alex Valdez singled to chase Demny from the game. Rob Wort entered for Potomac and immediately struck out Josue Peley for the second out of the frame. But David Mailman worked one of his four walks in the ballgame to load the bases with two outs, and Derrik Gibson battled through a ten-pitch at-bat, drawing another walk to force in a run.
With four runs in, Hissey batted for the second time in the inning and drilled his second double, scraping the left-field wall with an opposite-field blast that cleared the bases, giving Salem a 7-0 lead. To complete the offensive onslaught, Vitek drilled his second RBI single of the incredible inning, putting the Sox on top 8-0. After Vitek’s second hit, the Nationals pulled Wort and brought in Joe Testa, who struck out Brentz to end the eight-run rally.
The Nationals broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh, with Zach Walters drawing a leadoff walk and later scoring from third on a wild pitch. With the lead trimmed to 8-1, the Red Sox added two more in the last of the seventh, scoring runs on Brentz’ sac fly and Head’s two-out double. Salem finished with 16 hits, one shy of the season-best mark of 17, achieved on April 27 in Kinston. It was in that late April contest that Salem mustered its largest inning of the year, scoring ten times in the second against the Indians.
Pimentel picked up his first win of 2011 after losing 12 straight decisions between Double-A and Advanced-A. In five scoreless frames, he surrendered just two hits and two walks, striking out five Nationals with 63 pitches, 39 for strikes. In relief, Pete Ruiz earned a four-inning save, allowing just one run and one hit in his time on the mound.
Moving within four and a half games of the first-place Dash, the Salem Sox now seek a sweep of the P-Nats on Thursday night. Ryan Pressly makes his team-leading 21st start opposite Potomac’s Cameron Selik, with the first pitch set for 7:05.