The Salem Red Sox scored in the first inning for a seventh straight night, lost the lead, and battled back from a 5-1 hole to beat the Lynchburg Hillcats 6-5 at LewisGale Field Sunday. With the bases loaded, Ryan Dent singled home Mario Martinez in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Nate Reed got the win in relief, holding down the fort in four innings of shut out ball, allowing just two hits. Zach Jadofsky picked up the loss, going an inning and a third, allowing five hits and two runs.
The Sox struck first in the bottom of the first. Mike Miller singled with one out of Hillcats starter Jarrett Miller. After a single by Reed Gragnani and a walk to Carson Blair, Mario Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
But immediately the lead was lost. Cody Kukuk walked five Hillcats in the second inning, which along with two wild pitches led to four Hillcats runs. William Cuevas came in to relief Kukuk and allowed an infield hit that got the fourth run of the frame home. Kukuk finished with an inning and two thirds, allowing seven walks, four runs, and no hits.
The Cats added to their 4-1 lead in the third. Tyler Tewell singled with one out off of Cuevas, then moved up on a single by Anthony Nunez and scored on a single by Garcia to give the ‘Cats a 5-1 lead.
The added a run in the bottom of the second on Aneury Tavarez’s sixth home run of the season. The game held at 5-2 until the seventh inning.
The Sox started their comeback with a one out walk to Kevin Mager in the seventh off Matt Chaffee. Then a single by Johnson and single by Miller got Mager home and made it 5-3.
Salem tied up the game in the eight. Mario Martinez led off with a four pitch walked which chased Chaffee, and the ‘Cats brought in Jadofsky. He surrendered a single to Tim Roberson, and double by Tavarez which made it 5-4. Then after an intentional walk to Dent, Kevin Mager knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5.
The Hillcats threatened in the top of the ninth, after a single by Edison Sanchez and hit by pitch of Nunez made it first and second with two outs, but Reed got Eric Garcia to fly out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, Carson Blair and Mario Martinez singled to get things started. Then Dreily Guerrero, who had pinch run for Roberson in the eight, tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but Blair was thrown out a third to keep it first and second, now with one out. After a single to Tavarez loaded the bases, and the Hillcats brought in Nate Hyatt, Ryan Dent hit the game winning single to take the victory.
The win gives Salem a 33-35 record at the end of the first half of the season. The Sox open the second half Thursday at Winston Salem. Pitchers are TBA.