Salem knocks off Lynchburg
Lynchburg scored first and last, but the Red Sox rallied for enough offense in between to emerge victorious for the third straight night, garnering a 6-4 triumph in front of a season-high crowd of 5,544 at LewisGale Field on Friday night. Five different Sox drove in runs for Salem in a pair of three-run innings, while Ryan Pressly overcame a rocky first to complete five strong frames and pick up his sixth victory of the season.
Salem trailed 2-zip before it batted on Friday night, with Joe Leonard’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the first giving the Hillcats an early edge. In the bottom of the first, however, Derrik Gibson led off with a triple and was promptly driven in by Kolbrin Vitek’s single, slicing the deficit in half. Two batters later, Bryce Brentz blasted a double off the wall to bring home Vitek and tie the score at two. Then, the flustered Lynchburg starter, Aaron Shafer, fielded Dan Butler’s grounder to the mound and fired the throw into center-field, allowing Brentz to score and giving Salem a 3-2 lead.
With the same score in the last of the third, Jorge Padron smacked the first pitch of the inning down the right-field line for a double, and he made it 4-2 by scoring on Butler’s RBI single two batters later. Following an Alex Valdez fielder’s choice, Peter Hissey crushed a double to the fence in right-center field, bringing home Valdez to make it 5-2. The Red Sox plated their final tally on Miles Head’s ensuing wall-ball single to left. Though Head was thrown out at second base, Salem had leapt out to a 6-2 lead after three innings.
The Hillcats responded with one in the top of the fourth, inching within three on Christian Bethancourt’s single that scored Leonard, but Pressly bore down and retired the final six batters he faced over the fourth and fifth innings to complete his victorious outing. In relief, Kendal Volz grabbed the baton and ran with it, setting down nine of the ten men he faced over three innings, with three strikeouts.
Lynchburg threatened in the top of the ninth against Will Latimer, scoring once on L.V. Ware’s two-out double that made it 6-4 and moved the potential tying runs into scoring position. But Marcus Lemon grounded out to second base, ending the game and earning Latimer his fifth save.
Gibson and Hissey led the Sox with two hits apiece, while Vitek, Padron, Brentz, Butler, and Head each contributed one knock on the nine-hit night for the Red Sox. Leonard finished with a game-high three hits, going 3-4 with two RBI and two runs for the Hillcats.
After three straight losses to start the homestand, the Sox have won three in a row heading into the series finale with Lynchburg on Saturday night, a 6:05 start at LewisGale Field. Stolmy Pimentel is scheduled to be on the mound for Salem, while Lynchburg will toss lefthander Chris Masters.