Longball carries Frederick past Salem
The defending Carolina League champions tasted victory for the first time in 2012, utilizing three home runs—two from second-baseman Bobby Stevens—to dispatch Salem 10-4 on Saturday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium.
Frederick raced to a 5-0 lead after four innings, then squashed Salem’s comeback attempt by scoring four more in the fifth to make it 9-2. Scott Copeland did not allow an earned run over five innings for the Keys, earning the victory in his Carolina League debut. Salem southpaw Drake Britton dealt a perfect first inning with just seven pitches, but encountered turbulence after that, surrendering eight runs on eight hits over four and a third innings.
Ronnie Welty blasted his second homer in as many days for the Keys, crushing a Britton offering for a two-run blast in the third that made it 3-0. In the fourth, Stevens smashed another two-run shot, giving Frederick a 5-0 edge. Britton faced four batters in the fifth before Aaron Baker’s RBI double chased him from the ballgame.
The Sox’ best offensive opportunity arose in the fifth, beginning with Travis Shaw’s leadoff single. A hit-by-pitch and a walk sandwiched a pair of outs to load the bases, and Salem’s first run scored when Carson Blair’s grounder to third was bobbled by Ty Kelly. The unearned run made it 5-1, and another crossed on Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s bases-loaded walk. With the tying runs aboard, Sean Coyle popped out to end the threat.
Four Keys relievers combined to hold the Sox down over the final four innings, with Salem attaining single runs in the seventh on Shannon Wilkerson’s RBI single and in the ninth on Blair’s two-our RBI double.
Bobby Stevens blasted a leadoff bomb to begin the last of the eighth against Ruben Flores, his second round-tripper of the game. Stevens finished with four RBI, while Michael Flacco led Frederick with three hits in four at-bats in his season debut. Jeremy Nowak and Kelly also recorded multi-hit performances for the Keys, who out-hit the Sox 13-6.
Following Salem’s win on Friday and Frederick’s triumph on Saturday, the two American League East-affiliates will square off in the series rubber match on Sunday at 2 PM, with Miguel Celestino and Mike Wright both scheduled to make their Carolina League debuts.