T.J. White homered and drove in both FredNat runs, but it was the Salem Red Sox that edged out the FredNats 3-2 in the final game of the first half to eliminate the FredNats from the first half race in the Carolina League.
Dustin Saenz started for the second time since coming off the injured list and excelled, pitching four shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five.
The FredNats struck first in the 2nd inning after doubles from Steven Williams and White to make it 1-0.
It remained 1-0 until the bottom of the 6th. Reigning Carolina League Pitcher of the Week Marc Davis had two outs and the bases empty, but a walk to Nathan Hickey on a borderline full count pitch extended the inning. Blaze Jordan then homered to give the Red Sox the lead, and then reigning Carolina League Player of the Week Niko Kavadas homered for the third straight game in the series to make 3-1 and give Salem all the offense they needed.
White would answer back in the top of the 7th inning with his sixth home run of the season, a missile over the right center field fence to cut it to 3-2, but the FredNats couldn’t find the scoreboard again against Gabriel Jackson, who pitched the final five innings for Salem to earn the win.
The FredNats finish the first half at an even 33-33. Carolina, Lynchburg or Salem will be the first half champion and receive the automatic bid to the playoffs in September.
The second half begins tomorrow with the second half of the series in Salem. RHP Bryan Caceres will start for the FredNats, looking to win his first road game of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.