Salem Red Sox defeat Wilmington, 4-1

salem red soxRighthander Simon Mercedes delivered seven spectacular innings on the hill and catcher Jake Romanski crushed four doubles with the bat to help the Salem Red Sox surpass Wilmington 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. The victory gives the Red Sox an 18-10 record in August, transforming a 50-57 record at the start of the month to a 68-67 mark at the end. The Sox will wrap up their regular season on Monday afternoon before taking on Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division Championship Series, beginning on Wednesday.

Mercedes peppered the strike zone throughout his dominant outing, dealing 63 of his 87 pitches for strikes over seven superb frames. He matched a career-high with nine strikeouts and only allowed one run on four hits, with two walks. In relief, Madison Younginer and Taylor Grover each struck out one in a scoreless inning apiece, with Grover earning his first Carolina League save.

Offensively, Romanski led the way, becoming the first Salem player to ever record four doubles in a game. He hammered three line drives into the left-field corner and lofted his final double into the right-center field gap, raising his average from .235 to .291 with his 4-for-4 performance. Romanski also drove in a pair and scored once as the Sox picked up their third straight win.

Reed Gragnani and Kendrick Perkins also registered multi-hit efforts, with Gragnani’s 2-for-4 lifting his season average to .300, second-best in the league.

The Blue Rocks led 1-0 after Brett Eibner’s RBI single in the last of the fourth, but the advantage would not last long. In the top of the fifth, Romanski’s second double delivered his first RBI, bringing in Perkins to tie it up. Later in the frame, an errant pick-off throw allowed Romanski to trot home and give the Sox a 2-1 lead. The Sox added an unearned run in the seventh and plated their final tally in the ninth thanks to back-to-back triples from Gragnani and Martinez.

The top of the ninth was interrupted by a sudden downpour, which resulted in a 45-minute rain delay. Salem’s final run came after the delay, and the Blue Rocks anemic offense went quietly in the ninth against Grover.

The Sox and Rocks will wrap up the 2014 regular season at 1:05 on Monday, with Heri Quevedo scheduled to oppose Brooks Pounders.

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