Salem Red Sox rally, defeat Carolina, 5-4

salem red soxDown 4-1 after six innings, the Salem Red Sox finally figured out Carolina starter Jacob Lee in the seventh. Salem had mustered only two hits through six, but the Sox rallied for four runs on five hits in the pivotal top half of the seventh, surging to a 5-4 victory over the Mudcats on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium. Heri Quevedo earned his first professional victory, dealing four and two-thirds innings out of the Salem pen in relief of William Cuevas. Quevedo permitted just three hits and allowed only one unearned run, striking out a pair without walking anyone.

The turning-point inning began with Keury De La Cruz launching a ground-rule double down the right-field line. Brandon Jacobs followed with a single that moved De La Cruz to third. With men at the corners, David Renfroe crushed a deep fly ball to center; it was caught by Tyler Naquin right near the 400-foor marker at the wall, but De La Cruz scored to bring the Sox within two. Trailing 4-2, Blake Swihart singled to move Jacobs over to third, and Henry Ramos’ single scored Jacobs to make it 4-3. JD Reichenbach relieved Lee and was greeted by a Matt Gedman RBI double, scoring Swihart to tie the game. On the play, Carolina left-fielder Luigi Rodriguez bobbled the pick-up, allowing Ramos to sprint home all the way from first to give the Sox their first lead of the night at 5-4.

Quevedo made the lead stand up, pitching around leadoff hits in the seventh and eighth innings to pick up the W. He retired the side in order in the ninth on three straight ground balls, giving him 10 ground outs in his four and two-thirds innings on the hill. Cuevas went four and a third as the starter, surrendering three runs on five hits, but minimizing the damage by stranding runners in a couple different innings.

De La Cruz and Ramos each went 2-for-4 for the Red Sox, while four different Salem hitters drove in one run each. Renfroe went 1-for-3 with a triple and sacrifice fly. Carolina finished with eight hits, the same number as Salem, but the Mudcats stranded seven and went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

The Sox will strive to sweep their three game series in Zebulon in Thursday’s finale, with Henry Owens on the mound looking to bounce back from his shaky Saturday start in Myrtle Beach. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15; the Mudcats have yet to name a starting pitcher for Thursday’s game.

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