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Hot Sox double up Dash

The Red Sox scored multiple runs in three straight innings en route to an 8-1 lead, hanging on for an 8-4 victory to move above the .500 mark for the first time in the second half. Following the 0-5 start, Salem has prevailed in nine of the last 12 games, raising the record to 9-8, just two and half back of first-place Kinston (pending the K-Tribe’s result on Sunday night.)

Chris Hernandez only allowed one hit in five excellent innings, and the solo homer surrendered in the fifth to Dash left-fielder Kyle Colligan did little to harm Salem’s quest for victory. Hernandez struck out five and earned his team-best eighth win of 2011, improving to 8-5 and lowering his ERA to 2.94.

Colligan’s homer put the Dash on the board, but Salem’s early offensive eruption meant that the Winston homer solely got the Dash within four runs. Salem had already leapt to a 5-0 lead, scoring three times in the second and twice more in the fourth. After the Dash dinger, the Sox plated three more in the bottom of the fifth to assume an 8-1 advantage.

With one out in the third, Kolbrin Vitek began a string of three consecutive extra-base hits with a double to deep left-center. Jorge Padron’s liner into the right-field corner scored Vitek to give Salem a 1-0 lead, and the Sox edge became 3-zip when Bryce Brentz blasted a two-run bomb off Winston’s Jake Petricka. Brentz’ homer was his ninth, coming in his 84th Carolina League at-bat. The Red Sox rightfielder finished the afternoon with two hits and two RBI.

Salem’s fourth-inning rally commenced with two outs. Petricka has set down the first two batters on just four pitches, but the Sox strung together four straight singles to score two more times, with Vitek and Padron driving in the runs to make it 5-0. Zach Gentile and Shannon Wilkerson also contributed base hits in the fourth.

After the Dash trimmed their deficit to four, the Red Sox added three more two-out tallies in the fifth, with Gentile singling home Miles Head to make it 6-1 before Wilkerson doubled home Gentile and Mark Wagner to take a seven run lead.

The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup—Wilkerson, Vitek, Padron, and Brentz—went a combined nine for 18 with two walks and seven RBI. Gentile was the fifth Red Sock with multiple hits, going 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI from the ninth position in the batting order.

The Dash scored once in the sixth inning against Michael Gleason and twice more in the eighth against Tom Ebert, but the Dash never could get the tying run up to the plate. In the top of the ninth, the potential tying tally stood in the on-deck circle when Tyler Saladino grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the ballgame.

Since their 12-10, 10-inning loss to the Dash eight days ago, the Salem Sox have won five straight over their Southern Division rivals from Winston, entering Monday’s action with a chance for the three-game series sweep. The Sox and Dash reunite at 7:05, with Ryan Pressly set to face Joe Serafin in the series finale at LewisGale Field.