Salem drops home opener

Salem jumped out to its largest lead of the season in support of major league lefty Rich Hill, but Myrtle Beach roared back against Drake Britton and defeated the Sox 8-6 on Friday evening at LewisGale Field.

The Sox scored twice in the first and twice more in the second off Pelicans starter Roman Mendez, but the Birds bullpen stabilized the Sox’ hot offense and Myrtle scored eight of the final ten runs to take the series opener.

In his third minor league appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June, Hill surrendered a leadoff single to Teodero Martinez in the top of the first before retiring the next six batters he faced over two scoreless innings. Hill struck out three Pelicans and induced three ground-outs in his 26-pitch, 18-strike performance.

Salem capitalized on Hill’s effort by scoring a pair on the first on Travis Shaw’s two-run single, and plated two more in the second thanks to Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s RBI double and Sean Coyle’s RBI single. But up 4-zip after two, the tide began to turn.

Britton followed Hill and immediately walked Edwin Garcia. After Josh Richmond flew out, Martinez and Jared Hoying delivered consecutive singles, with the latter scoring Garcia to make it 4-1. The next batter, Tomas Telis, smashed a three-run, game-tying homer over the left field fence to even the score at four.

Brandon Jacobs received a bases loaded walk to surge the Sox into a 5-4 lead in the last of the fourth, but the edge was short-lived. Myrtle Beach retaliated with two more off Britton to take its first lead in the top of the fifth, with Telis picking up his fourth RBI of the game on a ground-out that scored Martinez. The Pelicans led 6-5 after five and made it 8-5 with two more in the eighth.

Felix Sanchez delivered an RBI single in the last of the eighth that snuck the Sox back within two, and Shaw doubled, his third hit of the day, with two outs in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate in the last of the ninth. But Xander Bogaerts grounded out to finish the night, and the Sox fell despite outhitting the Birds 11-8.

Joe Van Meter picked up the win for the Pelicans with three scoreless innings out of the pen, while Britton got saddled with the loss for the Sox, allowing six runs in four innings.

Salem sends Miguel Celestino to the mound on Saturday night against Myrtle Beach’s Nicholas Tepesch for a 6:05 start in the middle-game of the series. The Sox will be clad in their black Tuxedo jerseys for the annual “Night of Elegance,” and the first 500 fans will receive white, Red Sox tuxedo t-shirts.


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