Salem Red Sox pound Wilmington, 9-2

salem red soxPerhaps the Salem Red Sox will be alright without the league’s leading hitter, Garin Cecchini. Playing their first game since Cecchini received the promotion to Double-A Portland, the Sox matched season highs with eight extra-base hits and three home runs in a 9-2 demolition over Wilmington. Brandon Jacobs belted his eighth and ninth home runs of the year, while Henry Ramos tripled twice, scoring both times, to guide the Red Sox offense. Mickey Pena picked up his second win with five strong innings, buoyed by steady relief from Matty Ott and Matt Price. Salem’s defense also played error-free ball for the ninth time in the last 13 games, aiding the all-around performance in Friday’s triumph.

Ramos helped set the tone with the first of his two three-baggers to lead off the top of the first. Two batters later, Keury De La Cruz extended his hitting streak to 17 games with an RBI single to right, surging the Sox to a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters after that, Blake Swihart’s RBI double to deep center made it 3-0.

Following Pena’s 1-2-3 bottom of the first, the Sox added to their advantage in the second. On the first pitch of the second frame, Nick Natoli launched his first Carolina League homer down the left-field line to make it 4-0. Later on, Stefan Welch crushed an RBI double that plated Deven Marrero, while Jacobs blasted an 0-2 pitch over the fence in right-center for an opposite field two-run blast. After one and a half, Salem led 7-zip, and eight of the nine men in the Red Sox lineup had already recorded hits.

Dennis Raben led off the last of the second with a solo homer for Wilmington, but Jacobs retaliated with another solo shot of his own in the top of the fifth. The second dinger gave the Sox an 8-1 lead and gave Jacobs his second multi-homer game of the season. He also hit two  round-trippers on May 11 at Myrtle Beach.

Salem’s final tally came after Ramos delivered his second triple of the night. With two outs, Ramos tripled down the right field line and scored one batter later when Marrero ripped a double, his second hit of the night. Ramos finished 2-for-5, while Marrero and Jacobs both finished 2-for-4 to lead the Red Sox offense.

Pena allowed one run on three hits over five innings to earn the win, his first victory since April 10. He struck out a season-high seven Blue Rocks, while permitting just one walk. Salem’s early offense came at the expense of Wilmington’s Kellen Moen, who surrendered seven runs (five earned) in four innings, suffering the loss to fall to 1-1.

The Sox and Rocks continue their series on Saturday evening with Kyle Stroup making the start for Salem opposite Wilmington’s Sam Selman. First pitch is slated for 6:05.

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