Salem Red Sox hold off P-Nats, 5-4
Coming off a complete game in his last start, Couch (8-8) continued his string of success with his six scoreless frames. He scattered just three hits and struck out seven batters for the victory. With his eighth victory, Couch now has the most wins on the Salem staff.
Potomac had a chance to tie and possibly win the game in the ninth inning but came up short. Trailing 5-3, Kevin Keyes and J.P. Ramirez reached with back-to-back singles to start the inning. After two outs were recorded, Ricky Hague brought the deficit to 5-4 with an RBI single. But David Freitas struck out to end the game with the tying run at second and the winning run at first base.
The Red Sox got to Matt Grace in the top of the third inning with three runs. Christian Vasquez led off with his seventh home run of the year for the game’s first run. Lucas LeBlanc followed with a double and moved to third on a groundout. After a walk was issued to Felix Sanchez, Heiker Meneses singled home LeBlanc to double the Sox advantage. Travis Shaw brought in the final run of the inning with an RBI groundout to put Salem up 3-0.
Salem tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning thanks to three two-out hits. Vasquez extended the fourth inning with a single up the middle and scored on a double to right-center field by LeBlanc. Shannon Wilkerson made it 5-0 by bringing in LeBlanc with an RBI single.
Grace (6-10) went the first five innings for the Nationals and took the loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks.
The Nationals pushed across their first run of the night in the seventh inning against reliever Pete Ruiz. Steven Souza Jr. tripled to right-center field with one out and scored on a two-out single by Stephen King to cut the deficit to 5-1. Potomac had a chance for more runs but Ramirez struck out to end the inning with two runners on base.
Potomac staged another rally in the eighth inning adding two more runs. Michael Taylor led off with a single and scored on a double by Hague. Freitas stepped to the plate next and reached on an infield single. On the play, Ruiz made a throwing error that allowed Hague to score to bring the score to 5-3. The P-Nats stranded two more runners in the eighth as Andrew Jones came on to record the final two outs.