Salem Red Sox rally, knock off Carolina Mudcats
On a rainy Tuesday in the Roanoke Valley, most of the day was spent wondering whether Salem and Carolina would be able to play at all. But after a 76-minute delay, the Red Sox had a window and, late in the game, found a win.
Garin Cecchini launched the game-changing two-run homer off Owen Dew in the bottom of the eighth, breaking the four-all tie and lifting the Red Sox in front. Matty Ott tossed a perfect top of the ninth to close out Salem’s 6-4 victory, the third straight win for the Sox that moved the squad back above .500 at 15-14.
Despite 10 total runs and 14 hits, the nine-inning contest took just two hours and one minute, a byproduct of excellent strike-throwing from both starting pitchers. Kyle Kaminska and Joseph Colon each worked quickly, and both righties allowed four earned runs, creating a tie game into the seventh inning. Kaminska allowed nine hits and no walks, while Colon surrendered three hits and three walks, with both pitchers totaling three strikeouts.
Carolina failed to capitalize on golden opportunities in the seventh and eighth innings, with leadoff doubles beginning each frame that went nowhere. In the last of the eighth, Sean Coyle reached to begin the inning on a throwing error by Mudcats third baseman Yhoxian Medina. Nick Natoli sacrificed Coyle to second, and Cecchini proved the bunt inconsequential with a towering drive to deep right-center field. The two-run launch surged Salem in front for good.
Cecchini bounced back from his 0-for-5 performance on Sunday with two extra-base hits, two runs, and two RBIon Tuesday. The round tripper was his fourth of the year in just 103 at-bats. In 2012, he belted four homers in 455 at-bats on the season.
Carolina used a pair of long balls to take leads earlier in the ballgame, with Zach McPhee crushing his first of the year in the top of the third to give the Mudcats a 1-0 lead. Later, with the game tied 2-2, Jerrud Sabourin crushed a two-run shot that put the Cats in front again. But each time, Salem delivered a counter-punch. In the last of the third, Natoli’s two-out, two-run double gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. And down 4-2 in the sixth, Keury Da La Cruz and Brandon Jacobs each delivered RBI groundouts to even things at four, scoring Natoli and Coyle, who had walked and doubled to start the inning.
Ott improved to 2-2 with the win, tossing two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. Dew suffered the loss, dropping to 2-3 after giving up the Cecchini homer.
Salem and Carolina will reunite on Wednesday morning for an 11 AM first pitch at LewisGale Field. Mike Augliera gets the ball for the Sox, with Cody Anderson scheduled to take the mound for the Mudcats.