First inning fun produces 8-2 Red Sox victory
It did not take long for Salem to prove that there would be no letdown after Thursday’s exciting clincher. The first six Red Sox hitters reached in first inning, sparking a five-run frame that give Salem an quick cushion in an 8-2 triumph on Friday night. A jam packed crowd of 5,652 enjoyed a majestic postgame fireworks show that rivaled Salem’s early offensive fireworks, helping the Sox take three out of four over the Keys in the series. Stefan Welch launched a towering three-run homer to begin the scoring, and lefthander Brian Johnson held Frederick to two runs on five hits over five innings to earn his first Carolina League victory. With the win, the Salem Sox improved to 73-64 on the year, 40-27 in the second half, and 22-8 in their last 30 games since July 30.
Five Red Sox finished with multi-hit nights, with Welch leading the way with three RBI. Matty Johnson singled twice and scored twice, while Henry Ramos registered a double, a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored. Salem added two runs in the bottom of the fifth, with Ramos and Matt Gedman picking up RBI. In the eighth, David Chester pounded solo homer to straight-away center, a massive blast that gave him 18 homers on the year, including five in a Salem uniform. It was Chester’s second straight game with a round-tripper.
On the mound, Johnson earned his first victory since he beat the Augusta GreenJackets in the South Atlantic League on May 10. More than three and a half months later, Johnson appreciated the early run support and held the Keys scoreless into the fourth. After he walked Michael Mosby and yielded a single to Jerome Pena, Tucker Nathans smashed a two-run triple off the left-field fence in the top of the fourth, but Johnson rediscovered his groove and completed the fifth. He struck out three and walked three in his five frames on the hill.
In relief, Nefi Ogando dealt three scoreless, working around one hit and one walk, and Nate Striz induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded in the ninth to take the Red Sox to the finish line.
Frederick starter Zach Davies retired 12 in a row at one point, settling in after his turbulent first. But the Keys righty lost his fourth straight start, slipping to 7-9 on the year, giving up seven runs (five earned) in five innings.
Salem remains at home for the final three regular season games of the year against the Lynchburg Hillcats; postseason play begins with a home game in game one of the Southern Division Championship Series on Wednesday against Myrtle Beach. On Saturdayafternoon, the Sox and Hillcats will square off at 2:05, with Heri Quevedo on the mound against Navery Moore.
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