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Salem falls, 4-3, at Myrtle Beach

Kyle Hendricks tossed eight strong innings for Myrtle Beach, outdueling Keith Couch in the Pelicans’ slim  4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Monday evening at TicketReturn.Com Field. Couch dominated over the first six frames, surrendering just one run on two hits, but Myrtle Beach chased him from the action in the seventh with a three-run rally, transforming a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Salem sliced the gap back to one in the eighth, but stranded the tying run at third base and lost its fourth straight game.

Hendricks held the Red Sox scoreless through the first six, and Myrtle Beach led 1-0 on the back  of Vinny DiFazio’s solo home run off Couch in the fifth. But Salem’s offense awakened in the seventh, with Travis Shaw leading off the frame with his third double of the game. Brandon Jacobs singled Shaw home to tie the game at one, and two batters later, Michael Almanzar doubled to drive in Jacobs and give the Sox a 2-1 lead. On the ropes, Hendricks fought back and struck out Christian Vazquez and Sean Coyle consecutively to end the inning.

Myrtle Beach responded immediately in the last of the seventh, as Brett Nicholas led off with a single. After Christian Villanueva was hit by a pitch, DiFazio doubled to the wall in center to tie the game at two. Jeremy Williams struck out, but Tomas Telis singled to center, scoring Villanueva from third. When Jacobs booted the ball in the outfield, DiFazio also scurried home to make it 4-2, knocking Couch from the game after six and a third innings.

Shannon Wilkerson doubled to lead off the eighth, and a bunt single from Matty Johnson put the tying runs at the corners with nobody out. Wilkerson scored on an RBI ground-out from Shaw, but Johnson remained at third base when Jacobs struck out to end the inning, the culmination of Hendricks’ 98-pitch journey on the mound.

Joe Van Meter entered in the ninth and pitched around a two-out walk to earn his second save of the season. Myrtle Beach improved to 9-3 in the second half and moved a half game ahead of the Salem Sox in the full-season standings. Salem, off to a 3-9 start in the second half, needs to win on Tuesday to avoid its first five-game losing streak of the season.

Shaw went 3-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI to lead the Sox offense, while DiFazio finished 2-for-3 with two RBI to pace the Pelicans. Salem fell despite outhitting Myrtle Beach 9-6, the ninth time the Sox have lost this year when outhitting their foe.

Myrtle Beach will go for a sweep in the three-game series on Tuesday as the Sox send Matt Barnes to the mound for his final start before he heads to Kansas City to compete in the Futures’ Game. The Pelicans will send Randy Henry to the bump on Independence Day-eve.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press