Salem evens series with Dash
Bryce Brentz blasted a three-run homer, highlighting the decisive four-run sixth inning in a 7-3 Salem victory over the Winston-Salem on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark. Brentz’ bomb was his fourth in the last five days, and fourth in as many games at the home of the Dash.
Brentz was in the middle of Salem’s two multi-run innings, enabling the Sox to comeback from another early deficit. In the second, the Dash used a single, double, and sacrifice fly to scratch across two runs against Salem starter Drake Britton. The left-handed prospect pitched two frames, giving up two runs on three hits, striking out three and walking none.
The Sox began their comeback in the fourth, starting with three consecutive hits off Winston starter Matt Wickswat, the last of which was a Dan Butler single that drove in his league-leading 55th RBI of the season. Brentz later scored on a double play ball to knot the game at two.
An inning later, the Sox took advantage of a Winston error to take their first lead. With one out, Shannon Wilkerson’s liner to the mound was knocked down by Wickswat, but the Dash hurler picked the ball up and threw it wildly to first, enabling Wilkerson to advance to second. Kolbrin Vitek followed with an RBI double to give Salem a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Brentz drove a shot into the newly-created outfield bar in left-center to put the Sox up by four. The blast was his eighth in a Salem uniform in just 17 games and 19th overall on the season between the South Atlantic League and the Carolina League. Brentz’s eight homers have come in just 68 at-bats, an average of a home run every 8.5 at-bats.
Salem added a tally in the sixth when Alex Valdez, who led off with a triple, scored on the back end of a double play to put Salem up 7-2. The Dash got back-to-back homers from Jose Martinez and Ian Gac, his league-leading 20th blast, in the bottom of the sixth to draw back within three. The two homers were the only blemishes to Tom Ebert’s pitching line, however, and Chris Martin set down nine of the ten men he faced over three scoreless innings to preserve the Salem victory.
Ebert earned the win, improving to 4-3 on the season with four solid innings of relief, while Martin picked up his second save in as many games with Salem, allowing just one his over the final three frames.
The Sox utilized clutch hitting throughout the game, going 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while the Dash faltered in their limited opportunities, going 0-for-3 in such situations.
Jorge Padron’s three-hit night highlighted four-multi hit performances for the Sox. The 3-4-5 combo of Padron, Brentz, and Butler were a combined 7-for-12 with two doubles, a homer, four RBI, and four runs scored. Alex Valdez continued his impressive start with the Sox, smacking a double and a triple in four at-bats, raising his average to .333 in five games.
After splitting the first two games of the four-game set, the Sox and Dash tangle in an Independence Day matchup at 7:05 PM on Monday. Pete Ruiz will look to build on his seven scoreless innings last time out, while Winston lefty Brad Furnish will make his White Sox organizational debut after being signed out of independent ball earlier in the week.