Salem Red Sox nip Myrtle Beach, 3-2

salem red soxHenry Owens took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and Henry Ramos smacked a bases loaded single to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth, leading the Salem Red Sox past the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3-2 in front of a season best crowd of 5,005 at LewisGale Field. Owens struck out seven, allowing one run on two hits and two walks over his six-inning performance. Although he departed with a 2-1 lead, he was denied the victory since Myrtle Beach tied it up against Noe Ramirez in the seventh. But Salem’s eighth-inning rally made Ramirez and the Red Sox winners, with Matt Price pitching around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn the save.

Owens retired the first eight batters of the game in dominant fashion, with five strikeouts and three ground balls in the first three innings. Although he walked the number nine hitter Chris Grayson, he promptly picked him off first base. In the fourth and fifth innings, Owens issued just one walk, retiring the other six batters he faced with two more strikeouts. But with one out in the sixth, Grayson doubled down the right-field line, scoring two batters later on Drew Robinson’s single to right. With Salem up 2-1, Robinson moved to third base on a wild pitch. But Owens induced a Rougned Odor fly out to center on his 90th and final pitch of the game to preserve the advantage.

Patrick Cantwell singled home Trever Adams against Ramirez in the seventh, evening the score at two, but a Preston Beck 4-6-3 double play with men at the corners kept the game tied. In the last of the eighth, a Keury De La Cruz walk, a Brandon Jacobs single, and a Blake Swihart walk loaded the bases with nobody out against Ryan Harvey. With the infield in, Ramos laced a first-pitch liner to left to drive in De La Cruz. Bizarrely, Jacobs ran through a stop sign at third and was thrown out at home for the first out of the frame.

Jacobs’ baserunning mistake commenced an unfortunate sequence of baserunning errors, with Swihart getting picked off second for the second out. With the count 0-2 on Dave Renfroe, the Pelicans guessed correctly, pitching out to gun down Ramos as he tried to steal second. Just minutes after the Red Sox should have had the bases loaded with nobody out for Renfroe, all three runners had been thrown out and Renfroe did not even register an official at-bat.

Despite the blunders, the Sox held on with Price earning his second save. Ramirez picked up his first Carolina League win, improving to 1-0 on the year, while Harvey suffered his first loss for Myrtle Beach, dropping to 4-1.

Everyone in the Salem lineup except for nine-hitter Nick Natoli registered at least one hit, with Deven Marrero and De La Cruz each going 2-for-4. Salem outhit Myrtle Beach 10-6 and drew five walks as well.

With 19 games remaining in the first half (to be played in the next 16 days), Salem is six games behind first-place Myrtle Beach, who has dropped its last eight games. The Sox are only five back in the loss column.

The Sox and Pelicans reunite on Saturday evening for a 6:05 start at LewisGale Field. William Cuevas gets the ball for Salem, while Luke Jackson counters for Myrtle Beach.

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