Salem Red Sox rally late to down Myrtle Beach
On a breezy evening in Salem, second-baseman Sean Coyle provided the offensive thunder, crushing a pair of solo homers that helped the Red Sox defeat the Pelicans 7-2 in the home opener in front of 4,042 at LewisGale Field. His first homer broke a scoreless tie in the third, while his second shot untied things again in the eighth. His one-out opposite-field bomb off Arlett Mavare in the last of the eighth gave Salem a 3-2 advantage, and the Red Sox added four insurance tallies with two outs to widen the gap. Reliever Nefi Ogando tossed a pair of perfect innings out of the Salem pen to earn the victory, the Sox’ second straight win by the same exact score.
Both lefthanded starters dominated early, with Henry Owens and Victor Payano each permitting just one baserunner in their first trips through the batting order. But with Payano one strike away from sending things to the fourth, Coyle crushed a hanging curve for a no-doubt home run down the left-field line. His second shot of the year lifted the Sox in front 1-0, but the lead would not last long.
In the top of the fourth, Royce Bolinger tripled to center with one out, and Trever Adams launched a two-run dinger off Owens to give the Pelicans a 2-1 edge. Salem quickly countered, though, with Keury De La Cruz tripling with one out in the bottom of the fourth. He scored on David Renfroe’s sacrifice fly that tied the game at two.
Salem did not muster a hit in the fifth, sixth, or seventh innings against the Pelicans pen, but Coyle’s one-out at-bat in the eighth provided another turningpoint. The 5’8” infielder clobbered a deep rising drive to right-center field, and the ball carried over the wall for his second round-tripper of the night, his third of the season. With the score 3-2, Deven Marrero grounded to second and there were two gone with the bases empty. But the next five Red Sox reached, with four of them scoring, to make it 7-2. De La Cruz and Renfroe each connected on RBI singles and then scored on a pair of passed balls charged to the catcher Patrick Cantwell.
Coyle and De La Cruz each finished with two hits, while Coyle and Renfroe each drove in a pair of runs. With Ogando getting the win, one mustn’t overlook Owens’ solid performance (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 K, BB, 74 pitches, 41 strikes) or Noe Ramirez’ two scoreless frames of relief.
The Sox and Pelicans reunite on Saturday for a 6:05 first pitch at LewisGale Field. Kyle Stroup makes his second start for Salem, while Jerad Eickhoff gets his second chance for Myrtle Beach.