Salem Red Sox offense erupts in rout

salem red soxA five-run third inning, a booming three-run homer for Carson Blair, and an overall outburst of offense eased the Salem Red Sox to a 10-2 triumph over Frederick in the opener of a six-game homestand at LewisGale Field. Sean Coyle and Garin Cecchini each delivered three-hit performances, while Blair’s three-run missile in the seventh capped his best batting day of the year, with two hits, a walk, and three runs scored. Sox starter Kyle Stroup earned his second win of the season with five and a third strong innings, allowing just one run, while Chris Balcom-Miller pitched two and two-thirds scoreless out of the Salem bullpen.

When Salem and Frederick met in the season’s opening weekend, the Red Sox offense mustered just four runs on 15 hits in the three-game series, which the Keys swept. On Friday, the Sox poured on 10 runs on 15 hits, both season-highs, while also delivering a season-best eight extra-base hits. The surge began immediately, with Coyle leading off the first with a single. He advanced to second on Deven Marrero’s ground-out and scored on Cecchini’s first hit of the day.

Although the Keys quickly countered to tie the game at one in the top of the second, the Sox retaliated in kind, bouncing back in front 2-1 on Matty Johnson’s two-out RBI single that scored Blair. With a one-run lead heading to the third, Salem decided it was time to tee off on Keys starter Zach Petersime.

Marrero and Cecchini began the huge inning with back-to-back double, and Keury De La Cruz singled to keep the line moving. Henry Ramos pounded the third double of the frame, and then Blair walked to load the bases, still with nobody out. Matt Gedman lifted a sacrifice fly to center, preceding Jose Garcia’s two-run triple down the right-field line that made it 7-1 and TKO’d Petersime. His day included 17 batters faced but only seven outs recorded.

The Keys biggest threat came in the top of the sixth, when Frederick loaded the bases with one out against Stroup. Balcom-Miller emerged and navigated the Red Sox out of the threat, inducing a fly to shallow left and picking up a strikeout the strand the bags packed, three of the 11 men that Frederick left in the game.

Blair’s big swing came in the last of the seventh, giving the Red Sox double-digit runs for the first time all season. The three-run homer also broke the ice for Blair in both the home run and RBI categories, which he’d been blanked in so far this season.

The Sox and Keys will reunite on Saturday as Pink in the Park Weekend continues at LewisGale Field.Saturday night features multiple giveaways, as fans can receive both pink tuxedo t-shirts and a Henry Owens poster. Gates open at 5 PM, with the first pitch at 6:05, featuring Mike McCarthy and Zach Davies in a battle of righthanders.

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