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Salem Red Sox drops series opener to Wilmington

salem red soxKevin Heller and Forrestt Allday each hit home runs, but the Wilmington Blue Rocks were able to counteract with 11 hits of their own, beating the Salem Red Sox 6-5 in a seesaw affair on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field.

Wilmington struck first with back-to-back base hits in the first. Jack Lopez poked a one-out single and scored one batter later when Mauricio Ramos smacked a double into the left field corner for a 1-0 Blue Rocks lead.

Salem tied things in the bottom of the second on its first base hit of the game. Kevin Heller launched an Ashton Goudeau offering deep to left for his third home run of the year. The two-out solo shot tied the game at one.

The Blue Rocks took the lead back in the top half of the third inning with base hits from their first three batters. Lopez led off with a single followed by a Ramos single. Robert Pehl then hammered a three-run blast deep to left-center, giving Wilmington a 4-1 lead.

The Sox answered in the bottom of the third with a blast of their own. Jordan Weems grounded a one-out single up the middle followed by a Yoilan Cerse walk. Forrestt Allday then yanked a pitch down the right field line and over the wall for a three-run shot to tie the game at four.

Salem continued the inning with a double from Wendell Rijo. Dustin Lawley then knocked him in with another two-bagger, putting the Red Sox on top 5-4.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Wilmington got back to work in the top of the fourth. Carlos Garcia pulled a pitch down the left field line for a one-out double and stole third. With two outs, Mauricio Ramos lined a single over the head of a leaping Jordan Betts at third, allowing Garcia to score easily. Alfredo Escalera then blooped a singled to right to score Ramos and put the Blue Rocks up 6-5.

Daniel McGrath (1-3) surrendered all six runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings with three strikeouts. Brandon Show worked 4.1 shutout innings with only two hits allowed out of the bullpen as the Blue Rocks recorded just one hit after fourth inning.

Both offenses stalled after the fourth inning before the Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. However, Salem failed to score as Jordan Betts flied out to shallow right to end the inning. Ashton Goudeau (5-2) took the win despite allowing five runs on seven hits over five innings.

Salem’s loss pushed its losing streak to four games and its record to 49-48 and 11-16 in the second half. Wilmington improved to 51-45 and 13-13 with the win.

Game two of the three-game set with Wilmington is Thursday at 7:05 p.m. with Ty Buttrey (7-3, 3.53) taking on Luis Rico (5-5, 3.29). It’s a Thirsty Thursday with beverage specials and live music at LewisGale Field. Fans unable to attend can listen on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online at salemsox.com or via the TuneIn Radio app.