Salem Red Sox, Lynchburg Hillcats split two

salem red soxLynchburg overcame a 4-1 deficit to win 6-5 in eight innings in Sunday’s opener, but the Salem Red Sox responded with a 4-1 triumph in game two to earn a split as the first half wrapped up at LewisGale Field. Garin Cecchini and Blake Swihart both played in game one, but sat the second game to rest up for a cross-country journey to represent the Salem Sox in the 2013 Carolina League-California League All-Star Game, scheduled for Tuesday night in San Jose, CA.

Henry Owens departed with a lead in the opener, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven over four and one-third innings. Up 4-2 when Owens left, Nate Striz gave up one run in the sixth and Nefi Ogando surrendered another in the seventh, as Kyle Kubitza delivered a game-tying RBI triple to even the score with two outs in the top of the last. Matt Lipka ripped an RBI single in the eighth to plate the go-ahead run, and an error on the relay throw produced another Hillcats tally. With Lynchburg in front 6-4, the Sox inched within one and put the tying run at third base with two outs in the last of the eighth, only to strand him there in a one-run setback.

Lipka led the Hillcats with three hits in the opener, while David Renfroe and Bryan Johns paced the Red Sox with two RBI apiece. Wilson Rivera earned the victory, improving to 5-0 on the year, while Ogando blew his third save and fell to 1-1 in the process.

The second game featured a pitchers’ duel between William Cuevas and Blaine Sims, with the former lasting six innings and allowing just one run. Sims, on the other hand, served up a two-run blast to Brandon Jacobs in the first inning, but held the Red Sox scoreless for the remainder of his five-inning outing. Salem added a pair of insurance tallies in the last of the sixth against Hillcats reliever Ronan Pacheco, and Noe Ramirez dealt a 1-2-3 ninth to close the deal, earning his first save of the season.

Cuevas improved to 3-6 and now has gone six innings in three consecutive starts. Felix Sanchez led the Sox with two hits and an RBI in the nightcap.

The Salem Sox return to action on Friday night in Wilmington, kicking off the second half with a week-long road trip through Delaware and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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