Salem Red Sox hold off Potomac, 7-6

salem red soxAn early barrage of offense surged the Salem Red Sox to a six-run lead, and the bullpen withstood Potomac’s rally to prevail 7-6 on Monday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

Offensively, the Sox enjoyed a four-hit night from Garin Cecchini and a three-double performance from Deven Marrero. Felix Sanchez also crushed a three-run homer to help Salem snap a three-game losing skid and earn its first victory of the season.

Entering Monday night, the bottom of Salem’s lineup had produced zero hits in three games. But after Cecchini led off the top of the second with a single and Jose Garcia flew out, the seven, eight, and nine hitters all recorded hits in succession, culminating in Sanchez’ three-run dinger to lift the Sox to a 4-0 lead.

Salem added one more in the fourth and two more in the fifth, bolting to a 7-1 advantage at the midway point. But Potomac finally scratched Sox starter Mike Augliera in the last of the fifth, recording three runs on five hits to make it 7-4. Billy Burns clobbered a bases loaded double to bring home two runs, but a great relay from Keury De La Cruz to Marrero to Blake Swihart gunned down another run at the plate, a play that proved to be the difference when all was said and done.

Augliera bounced back from a frustrating fifth to deal a perfect sixth, becoming the first Salem starter to work into the sixth this season. Overall, he permitted four runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking one, and earning the victory for his efforts in his Carolina League debut. Nefi Ogando struck out two in his two innings on the hill, while Nate Striz tossed a hitless ninth to earn the save.

Cecchini led Salem’s sticks with a four-for-four performance that included a double and two stolen bases. Marrero contributed three doubles and a slew of scintillating defensive plays at shortstop. He robbed Cutter Dykstra of a base hit with a diving stop and quick release in the second inning;  he also caught a sinking liner with a full extension diving catch in the fourth, taking a hit away from Adrian Nieto.

Salem will look to make it two in a row over Potomac on Tuesday night, with William Cuevas opposing Taylor Hill in a 7:05 first pitch.

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