Salem Red Sox rally in eighth, knock off Keys, 3-2

salem red soxMissed opportunities plagued the Salem Red Sox through seven innings, but the offense finally delivered in the eighth. However, it did not arrive without controversy. Down 2-1, Henry Ramos scored the tying run on Sean Coyle’s sacrifice fly to shallow center. Judging by the ensuing argument, Frederick Manager Ryan Minor disagreed with umpire Brian Miller’s assertion that Ramos was safe, leading to a fiery ejection after Minor stormed out of the dugout in disgust. When the game resumed, Deven Marrero smacked an RBI double down the right field line, driving in Carson Blair to give Salem its first lead of the night at 3-2.

In the top of the ninth, Nefi Ogando struck out the side to finish off Frederick, but not before two more Keys were ejected. Jason Esposito argued with Miller after a called third struck punched him out to begin the inning, and he promptly was tossed. Hitting Coach Torre Tyson, who had been coaching third base in Minor’s absence, ran at Miller, gave him an earful, and got run too! Tyson furiously slammed his helmet to the ground at the moment of his ejection.

Throughout the game, the Sox were constantly threatening, but hardly cashed in. The Red Sox stranded baserunners in every inning, leaving 12 in the game as they went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Salem’s first run came via Ramos’ solo home run in the last of the fourth. It was his second round-tripper of the season, one of the two big tallies he scored in the tight game.

Salem starter Mike McCarthy took a no-decision but pitched well, permitting just one earned run (two total runs) in five innings. In relief, Matt Price was dominant and earned his first Carolina League win, striking out five in three scoreless innings. Ogando took the Sox to the finish line with three straight strikeouts to end it, picking up his first save.

Both Marrero and Garin Cecchini finished with two hits to lead the Red Sox offense. Cecchini and Blair both reached base three times, with Cecchini going 2-for-4 with a walk to raise his league-leading average to .382. Johnny Ruettiger went 2-for-3 as the only Key with multiple hits.

Winners of four of their last five games, the Sox will seek a three-game sweep over the Keys on Sundayafternoon. First pitch is at 4:05, with a pair of strong pitchers on the hill. Salem sends Mike Augliera, who’s 4-0 with a 3.12 ERA, to the hill, while Frederick counters with Eduardo Rodriguez, who’s 4-2 with a 3.35 ERA.

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