Salem Red Sox complete sweep of Lynchburg Hillcats
The Red Sox (24-9) run of strong starting pitching continued with southpaw Matt Kent on the mound, who retired the first nine batters he faced.
Salem’s offense supported him with an acrobatic tally in the bottom of the second against Lynchburg (22-11) starter Mitch Brown. Rafael Devers led the inning off with a single, then advanced to both second and third bases on two separate wild pitches. On a third wild pitch of the inning, Devers scored after a sashay to evade Brown’s attempted tag at the plate.
Kent was touched up for a run by the Hillcats in the top of the fourth, when speedster Greg Allen was plunked to open the frame, then stole second and was later chased home by a Taylor Murphy single.
The Red Sox broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth against Brown (1-3), when Mauricio Dubon cracked a two-run double to score Bryan Hudson and Yoan Moncada to put Salem up 3-1.
After the rough fourth inning, Kent (2-2) settled in to complete 6.0 innings, allowing the lone run on two hits, walking one and striking out a career-high five. The quality start was Kent’s first of the season with Salem after two earlier in the year with Greenville. Salem starters have notched quality starts in five of the last eight games.
Salem added to the lead in the seventh against Lynchburg reliever Justin Garcia, as Ben Moore singled to lead off the inning, and three batters later, Moncada singled him home to make it 4-1. Moncada had a great day at the plate, finishing 2-for-2, with a double, a run scored, an RBI, two walks and two stolen bases.
Ben Taylor came in from the bullpen for the Red Sox, and threw 3.0 shutout innings; striking out a career-high five to earn his first career save. With Taylor’s effort, the Salem bullpen has thrown 18.1 consecutive scoreless frames.
The Red Sox now host a new opponent at LewisGale Field as they open a four-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Salem will send Travis Lakins (4-1, 2.87) to the mound, countered by Pedro Fernandez (3-1, 2.14) of Wilmington. Friday begins the Weekend of Giving at LewisGale Field, for tickets and more information on how to give back with the Sox, call (540) 389-3333 or slide to www.salemsox.com.