Salem drops 2-1 decision to Kinston

After prevailing by three runs on Thursday and two runs on Friday, the Kinston Indians hung on for a slim 2-1 triumph on Saturday to sweep the Salem Sox in the opening series of the second half.

Despite allowing two runs, an argument could be made that Sox southpaw Chris Hernandez outdueled his Indians counterpart, but Salem’s offense could not muster a single earned run off Drew Pomeranz and a trio of relievers. The Sox put runners on base in each of the four innings that Pomeranz lasted on the mound, but stranded six men on base and only scored once, plating an unearned tally in the fourth. Over the final five innings, the Red Sox managed just one baserunner against the Kinston bullpen.

Hernandez set down the first seven men he faced and nine of the first ten over three scoreless innings, but the K-Tribe utilized back-to-back doubles from Casey Frawley and Anthony Gallas to break a scoreless tie in the fourth. Gallas drove in Frawley to make it 1-0 and crossed the plate himself on Adam Abraham’s RBI-groundout, giving the Indians a 2-0 edge. Hernandez went six strong and only allowed those two runs on five hits, but suffered the loss, dropping his record to 5-5 despite the quality start.

Pomeranz, the Carolina League ERA leader, did not allow an earned run, yet he labored through four innings, giving up three hits and four walks. James Kang took a bases-loaded walk to force in a run in the last of the fourth, but Pomeranz induced a groundout from Pichardo to escape the threat with a 2-1 lead, stranding the bases loaded. Pomeranz departed after the fourth, taking a no-decision with his four-strikeout, four-walk performance.

Francisco Jimenez replaced Pomeranz and dominated the Red Sox in three scoreless innings, striking out five Salem batters in his time on the mound. Jose Flores tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, preceding Preston Guilmet’s perfect ninth that netted him his 18th save, tying him with Frederick’s Sean Gleason for the league lead. Jimenez earned the victory, improving to 2-1 with his electrifying relief performance.

Kinston finished with seven hits spread between seven different hitters, while the Red Sox had four hits, two apiece for Kolbrin Vitek and James Kang. Salem went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base, falling to 0-3 in the half and dropping its fourth straight overall.

The homestand continues with Myrtle Beach arriving to town for a 4:05 matinee on Sunday. Righthander Ryan Pressly makes his first start of the second half in the series opener, while lefthander Robbie Ross will get the ball for the Pelicans to commence the three-game set.

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