Indians knock off Sox

Sequels like this are not supposed to be made, but unfortunately, baseball follows no script.

For the second straight night, the K-Tribe used a multi-run ninth inning to break a 2-2 tie, downing the Salem Sox 4-2 on Friday evening at LewisGale Field. With two outs and a man at first, Adam Abraham swung and launched a towering line-drive homer over the left field fence, surging Kinston into the lead. Abraham’s blast off Salem reliever Kendal Volz was his 11th round-tripper of the season, four of which have come against the Red Sox, and the Indians third-baseman finished 3-4 to pace the Tribe offense. Salem went 1-2-3 in the last of the ninth and fell to 0-2 in the second half.

Incredibly, the Indians won despite going hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position and stranding 11 runners aboard in the ballgame. Salem starter Pete Ruiz got knocked out after two and two-thirds turbulent innings, but minimized the damage to just two runs, with the K-Tribe leaving six runners on over the first three frames. After the Indians chased Ruiz, Jeremiah Bayer pitched brilliantly out of the Salem pen, dealing four and a third scoreless innings to keep the Sox in the game.

Both teams scored once in the first, with Jeremie Tice driving in Anthony Gallas on an RBI double before Dan Butler’s sac fly plated Wilfred Pichardo to even it up. An RBI ground-out in the third from Justin Toole brought home Tice to give the Indians a 2-1 lead, and Salem managed nothing more off Kinston starter Brett Brach until the seventh. With the Sox down by a run, Shannon Wilkerson led off with a solo homer to left, his ninth dinger of the season, tying the score at two. The Red Sox put two more runners on base in the seventh with two out, but Chris Jones emerged from the Indians bullpen, escaped the jam, and retired the final seven Sox of the ballgame. Jones picked up the win in relief, improving to 4-0 on the season

Volz retired the leadoff man in the ninth, an inning that was greeted with a 2-2 score for the second consecutive night. But Volz walked Gallas with one away to give the Tribe a baserunner. Tice flew out to left, but, with Cid pinch-running for Gallas, Abraham arrived and smashed the game-deciding dinger to deep left-center. As a consequence, Volz got tagged with the loss and fell to 2-3.

David Mailman went 3-3 for the Red Sox with two doubles, but all three hits occurred with the bases empty and Salem stranded Mailman every time. Wilkerson went 2-4, while Wilfred Pichardo, Bryce Brentz, and Derrik Gibson each collected one hit apiece.

The Sox will strive to avoid a frustrating trilogy of losses in the series finale on Saturday night, with a showdown of All-Star lefties scheduled to pitch. Salem sends Chris Hernandez to the hill opposite Kinston’s Drew Pomeranz, who currently leads the Carolina League in ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05, with the gates opening at 4:30 in anticipation of the pregame Shontelle concert.

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