Salem Red Sox steamroll Carolina, 18-2
The Salem Red Sox
tied a franchise record for the widest margin of victory by blasting the Carolina Mudcats
18-2 on Thursday
night at LewisGale Field. The Sox offense erupted early, scoring five in the first, seven in the second, and two more in the third to lead 14-0. Five different hitters drove in multiple runs, with Carson Blair
collecting six RBI
to lead the way in his return to the lineup. While the bats were the story of the night, southpaw starter Cody Kukuk
earned his first carolina league
win, tossing five innings and allowing just one run.
Salem broke the seal with one out in the last of the first, with Reed Gragnani
smacking a bases loaded single to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. One batter later, Blair worked into a full count and launched a towering grand slam over the left-field fence, surging Salem ahead 5-0.
In the second, the Sox sent 12 men
to the plate, knocked Carolina starter Shawn Morimando
out of the game, and led by a dozen before all was said and done. Tim Roberson
cracked a two-run single, Gragnani picked up his second RBI
single in as many innings, and Blair crushed a majestic fly off the center-field fence for a two-run double. Matty Johnson
added a two-run single to make it 12-0, and it became 14-zip in the third when Roberson crushed a two-run homer to left-center field.
Kukuk struggled with command, walking five in five innings, but induced three double plays to escape much trouble. The lefty improved to 1-0 in two starts with Salem and 4-0 in seven starts on the year between multiple levels. In relief, Kyle Stroup allowed one unearned run in two innings, while Diaz dealt two scoreless.
Salem’s number nine hitter Jayson Hernandez
led the team with three hits, while Johnson, Jonathan Roof, Roberson, Gragnani, Blair, and Kevin Heller
all collected two hits apiece. Blair led the way with six RBI
in his first game in a week, while Roberson drove in four, Johnson drove in three, and Gragnani and Heller each tallied two RBI
The Sox will hope that their offense stays locked in as the series against the Mudcats continues on Friday
night. Luis Diaz
is scheduled to start
opposite D.J. Brown, and the first pitch is slated for 7:05