Owens dominates, Salem gets 7-0 win

salem red soxIt was evident very soon after the game’s 7:00 pm commencement that the Salem Red Sox were primed for an easy evening ahead. The Sox knocked Winston-Salem Dash starter Chris Beck out of the game in the top of the first after just two thirds of an inning. Thus began a night filled with plenty of ups and very few downs for the Red Sox.

Salem started with three runs in the first. Henry Ramos began the contest by striking out, but he battled to make his at-bat last 11 pitches. That proved to be costly for Beck down the road, but not very far down the road. Following a Deven Marrero pop out, a string of five batters reached base for Salem. By the time the run was over, Beck was dejectedly walking back to the Dash dugout with the Sox ahead 3-0. The Dash starter threw 41 pitches in his two thirds of an inning of work.

Against Beck, Keury De La Cruz singled and scored on a throwing error, Stefan Welch walked after a 10-pitch plate appearance and scored on double steal attempt that both succeeded and caused a throwing error, and Brandon Jacobs singled. He was driven home on a single by Matt Gedman. Blake Swihart also drew a walk against Beck.

Reliever Jason Van Skike got the Dash out of the first without allowing further damage, but ran into trouble in the third. For the second straight time through the order, five Red Sox in a row reached base. Jacobs collected his second straight infield single to start the inning. Then Blake Swihart singled, and Matt Gedman walked to load the bases. David Renfroe sent a two-run double out to right field, before Nick Natoli drove home Gedman with a double, and Henry Ramos crushed a sacrifice fly to center that plated Renfroe. The Red Sox led 7-0, and the score stuck until the game’s final out.

Much of the credit for that goes to Henry Owens. He used his magnificent change-up to wield control over the Dash lineup. Owens lasted a career-high seven innings; his sparkling efficiency contrasted greatly with Beck’s strenuous and ultimately fatal first frame. The lanky lefty struck out six, giving up just three hits and one walk in seven shutout frames. He improved to 6-2 with the win. Beck is now 6-8 after taking the loss. Matty Ott allowed just one base runner (via walk) in two scoreless inning of relief to close out the contest.

Every member of the Red Sox lineup reached base, and everyone collected a hit except for Welch, who reached only on his first inning walk. Batters five through nine in the Salem order all had at least two base knocks, with Jacobs collecting a team-high three.

The Sox and Dash will take the field tomorrow for game three of a four-game set. The teams have a quick turnaround with first pitch scheduled for noon. Mickey Pena will take the hill for Salem against Jake Cose for Winston-Salem.

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