Late homer lifts Salem Red Sox to series sweep

salem red soxRyan Dent’s third walk off hit in 13 games gave the Salem Red Sox a 7-5 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks at LewisGale Field Monday night. Dent crushed a two run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the tenth off Rocks reliever Daniel Stumpf to lift the Sox to a series sweep.

Kyle Kraus got the win in relief, throwing three solid innings, allowing a hit and two unearned runs. Stumpf fell to 2-8 on the year after allowing three hits and two runs in two innings. Corey Littrell picked up a quality start, throwing seven innings of three run baseball. He allowed eight hits two walks, and struck out five in the longest outing of his career. Miguel Almonte was also solid for the Blue Rocks, going six and a third, allowing six hits and three runs.

The Blue Rocks struck first off Littrell in the second and third. Designated hitter Michael Antonio led off the second with a double, followed up by a Littrell wild pitch that got the runner to third. Antonio scored the first run of the game on a single by Cam Gallagher. Then Wilmington rocked Littrell for four singles in five batters in the third to scratch across two more runs and take a 3-0 lead. From that point forward, Littrell would settle in and retire 14 of 16 hitters until he left after seven innings.

The Sox plucked away at the lead in the bottom of the third. Jordan Weems walked and Jose Vinicio nailed a double to start the inning off Almonte. Then with runners at second and third, Matty Johnson singled up the middle, driving in two runs and cutting the lead to 3-2.

The Sox then tied the game in the sixth. Mike Miller started the frame with a double he moved up to third on a groundout by Jantzen Witte. Matt Gedman singled in Miller a batter later to tie the score.

The game stayed 3-3 until a wacky eight inning. With one out, Antonio singled off Kraus. Then pinch runner Terrance Gore moved to second on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Kraus. THe next batter Jared Schlehueber reached on a throwing error by Vinicio to set up first and third and no outs. After a strikeout by Gallagher for the second out, Cody Stubbs reached on a throwing error by Dent on a grounder to third which scored both runners and gave Wilmington a 5-3 lead.

But the Red Sox would immediately answer in the bottom of the eight off the Blue Rocks best reliever Mark Peterson. Witte led off the frame with a double, and scored two batters later on a single by Kevin Heller to cut the lead to 5-4. Tavarez came up next and singled to right, allowing Heller to go to third. Tavarez would steal on a first and third play, and the throw by Gallagher sailed into center field which scored Heller on an unearned run and tied the game.

With one out in the bottom of the tenth, Tavarez singled to left field. Then Dent hit the first pitch from Stumpf over the left field wall for the walk-off homer.

The win was the Sox fifth walk-off victory of the season and gets Salem back to .500 on the second half with a 5-1 home stand. Salem heads on the road tomorrow to open a three game set with the Frederick Keys. Joe Gunkel goes for the Sox and Brady Wager gets the start for the Keys. First pitch from Harry Grove Stadium is scheduled for 7:00.

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