Salem Red Sox even series with Winston-Salem
For the second straight Henry Owens start, Sean Coyle led off with a home run. His first pitch fly, combined with Owens’ dazzling stuff, helped the Salem Red Sox lead literally wire-to-wire in Saturday night’s 9-4 triumph over Winston-Salem. Coyle also went yard in the second inning, a three-run blast, for his ninth round tripper in just 17 games on the season. Nick Natoli added three hits, Garin Cecchini continued his remarkable tear with two singles and a walk, and Owens did the rest, striking out a career-high 10 batters in his six-inning, 94-pitch performance.
Winston starter Chris Beck entered the day with the league’s second best ERA at .145, but it rose just one pitch into the contest, with Coyle launching a fastball deep over the left-field fence to put the Sox in front 1-0. One inning later, after a Jeremy Farrell fielding error prolonged the frame, Coyle did something he had not done all year: he belted a homer with somebody on base! After eight solo shots, his ninth home run was a three-run blast to give Salem a 4-0 lead.
Owens surrendered a two-run shot to Farrell in the last of the second, but Salem’s tall lefty did not permit another hit in his final four innings. He permitted just two hits and three walks, striking out double digits for the first time all season. Interestingly, he struck out the side in the third inning, something he also did on Monday in Wilmington in his most recent outing prior to Saturday.
The Red Sox added three more to their lead in the top of the sixth, with Coyle lifting a sacrifice fly in the frame for his fifth RBI of the night. Later in the inning, Cecchini slapped an RBI single, simultaneously giving the Red Sox a 7-2 lead and extending his hitting streak to 11 games, in which he has hit .476 (20-for-42).
Both teams scored a pair in the ninth, with Salem tallying two on Henry Ramos’ RBI triple, the culmination of a strong multi-extra-base-hit night for Ramos. Kevan Smith lifted a two run homer for Winston in the bottom of the ninth against Matt Price, but Price earned a three-inning save by finishing the game as the Sox prevailed by five.
Coyle, Natoli, and Cecchini—at the top of Salem’s lineup—combined to go 7-for-12 with six RBI and three runs scored. It was the third time that Sean Coyle led off the first inning with a home run, matching Salem’s leadoff homer total from last year, when Jackie Bradley Jr did it twice and Shannon Wilkerson did it once. Ramos added a double and a triple for the Sox, scoring twice from the seventh spot in the order.
Owens improved to 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six Carolina League starts, while Chris Beck fell to 2-4 despite his 1.50 season ERA.
The Sox and Dash will square off in the series rubber match on Sunday afternoon, a 2 PM matinee that will feature of pair of righthanders on the mound. Mike McCarthy makes the start for Salem, while Terance Marin will toss for Winston.