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Gibson hits Sox to W

Derrik Gibson pounded three hits—including an RBI double in the last of the seventh that broke a 2-2 tie—to lead the Red Sox past the Blue Rocks 3-2 on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field, giving Salem its fourth straight victory. After beginning the second half with five straight losses, the red-hot Red Sox have won seven of the last nine to even their second-half record at 7-7.

Jeremiah Bayer earned the victory with two dominant innings in relief, a stint that began with four consecutive strikeouts. With a one-run edge, Chris Martin entered in the ninth and recorded his third save in as many games with Salem, pitching around two singles by striking out a pair, including Carlo Testa to end the game. Martin, a fireballer from Arlington, Texas who was pitching in independent ball at this time last year, has now spun six scoreless innings in three appearances for Salem, earning the save every time.

Salem fell behind 2-zip in the top of the second inning, with the Blue Rocks authoring a strange two-run rally against Sox starter Ryan Pressly. Following Ryan Stovall’s leadoff double and the ensuing hit-by-pitch of Kurt Mertins, Tim Ferguson’s bunt to the mound was chucked down the right field line, allowing Stovall to score, putting Wilmington on the board. With runners at first and third, Ferguson attempted to steal second and was drilled by the line drive off Ryan Eigsti’s bat. Eigsti took first with the single but was denied the RBI since Mertins was forced to stay at third with the play being dead after the batted ball struck the baserunner. Gerard Hall’s bunt single gave Wilmington a 2-0 lead and Whit Merrifield walked to load the bases, but Pressly induced a 6-4-3 double play to escape further damage.

Pressly was unhittable in his final four innings of his performance, surrendering just a pair of walks from the third through the sixth. Overall, Pressly earned his third straight quality start by dealing six innings of two-run, four-hit ball. Unfortunately, like the previous pair of quality outings, Pressly could not earn a victory as a result of Salem’s lack of offense.

But while Pressly finished his sixth inning trailing 2-1, the Red Sox quickly took him off the hook. With one out in the last of the sixth, Jorge Padron smashed a laser-beam line-drive homer to right field, tying the game at two. An inning later, following Josue Peley’s leadoff walk and Zach Gentile’s sac bunt, Gibson blasted a drive to center that Merrifield could not track down. The fly sailed off the tip of Merrifield’s glove and all the way to the track, scoring Peley to put the Sox on top 3-2, giving Salem its first lead of the night.

The bullpen did the rest, pitching around a pair of baserunners in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the victory in the opener to the homestand. Wilmington stranded nine men in the game and only mustered six singles and one double.

Gibson pounded two doubles among his three hits, scoring Salem’s first run and driving in the final tally. David Mailman also delivered two hits (including a double) for the Sox, while Padron and Shannon Wilkerson each contributed a hit and an RBI.

Enjoying four consecutive victories, the Red Sox can match their longest winning streak of 2011 in Thursday’s matchup against Wilmington. Anthony Ranaudo is scheduled to start for Salem, while Wilmington will send Elisaul Pimental to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

augusta free press
augusta free press