Salem Red Sox rally, top Myrtle Beach, take third straight

salem red soxDown 3-1 after six innings, the Salem Red Sox scored three in the top of the seventh and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at TicketReturn.com Field Saturday night.

Matty Ott held off the Pelicans with the bases loaded in the sixth, and finished the game to pick up the win. Ott struck out the side in the seventh, finishing his three and a third scoreless innings out of the pen with four strikeouts and just one hit allowed. Justin Sprenger was charged with the loss, surrendering three runs in two innings. Only one of those three runs were earned. Pat Light picked up a no decision, allowing three runs on nine hits in five and two thirds innings pitched.

The Pelicans jumped out to an early lead off Light. Jorge Alfaro hit a line drive home run over the short left field wall as the second batter of the game to put the Pelicans up 1-0. Two batters later, Royce Bolinger and Nick Williams would double back to back to bring home a second first inning run. Light would surrender hits to four of the first five batters, but settle in from there on, pitching into the sixth inning.

Salem immediately answered in the next half inning. Carson Blair launched a solo home run to deep right-center field to cut the lead in half.

The game remained 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth. Light stuck out Nick Williams to start the frame, but the ball got away from Carson Blair, going all the way to backstop behind home plate. Williams made it all the way to second base on the strikeout and wild pitch. Lewis Brinson flew out to center, allowing Williams to move to third. He scored on an error by Jose Vinicio. A grounder off the bat of Christopher Bostick snuck under Vinicio’s glove to give the Pelicans a 3-1 lead. After Nick Vickerson singled and Luis Mendez popped out, Light walked Chris Garia. At that point, Light was relieved by Ott, who came in with the bases loaded and two outs. Ott got Alfaro, who was three for three at that point, to ground out to third to escape the jam and keep the score 3-1.

The Sox again immediately capitalized on Ott’s clutch out in the seventh. Sprenger walked Reed Gragnani to start the frame. A wild snap throw by Alfaro trying to pick off Gragnani from behind the plate sailed high of Preston Beck, allowing Reed to move up to second. It was the first of two costly errors in the inning for Myrtle Beach. Carson Blair then grounded to short, but the throw by Luis Mendez got away and bounced into the stands, allowing Gragnani to score and moving Blair to second. Blair was then retired on a fielder’s choice, when Alfaro fielded a bunt by Aneury Tavarez and threw out Carson at third. With Tavarez on first, Matt Gedman doubled to right to put runners on second and third with just one out. Then Vinicio grounded to second, but the ball was bobbled long enough by Bostick to force his throw to first rather than the plate, allowing Tavarez to score and tie the game. A batter later, Matty Johnson singled in Gedman to give the Sox a 4-3 edge.

Salem added an insurance run in the ninth. Jose Vinicio singled with one out off Jose Leclerc, and scored on a double by Carlos Asuaje to push the lead to 5-3.

Myrtle Beach did threaten in the ninth. Mendez started the inning with a infield single, the lone hit allowed by Ott. Mendez was retired at second on a fielder’s choice hit by Garia. Garia reached second on a wild pitch, but was eventually thrown out a third by Jose Vinicio on a grounder hit by Alfaro. Preston Beck then flew out to end the game.

The victory gives the Sox a three game winning streak for the first time since the final day of June. Salem goes for the series sweep tomorrow night. Victor Payano is scheduled to start for the Pelicans. The Sox starter is still to be announced. First pitch is at 6:05.

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