Salem Red Sox stun Carolina Mudcats in extras

salem red soxThe Salem Red Sox mounted a ferocious rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie, and walked off on the Carolina Mudcats in 11 innings to win 7-6 Tuesday night at LewisGale Field. With the win Salem has won five games in a row overall, and eight in a row at home.

Rafael Devers was the hero for Salem, lacing an opposite-field double against Ryan Lawlor to score Jayce Ray and deliver a victory.

The Red Sox (73-47, 30-21) took an early lead against Mudcats starting pitcher Enderson Franco in the bottom of the first. With Danny Mars at third base and Devers at first base, Salem executed a double steal of second base and home to take a 1-0 lead.

Carolina (45-77, 16-36) struck back against Anyelo Leclerc in the top of the second, sending eight men to the plate. They plated a pair of runs after collecting four straight two-out singles, but missed an opportunity for more by stranding the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the fourth, Salem tied the game at two against Franco when Bryan Hudson lifted a sacrifice fly to score Jose Sermo.

The Mudcats regained the lead in the top of the fifth, plating two more runs against Leclerc on a Luis Valenzuela single to take a 4-2 lead. The righty was removed from the game with two outs in favor of Mario Alcantara, who stranded the bases loaded in recording the final out of the frame.

Leclerc was charged with four runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. He struck out three batters, and walked two in his sixth start of the season.

After tossing scoreless stanzas in the sixth and seventh innings, Alcantara yielded a pair of runs to Carolina in the top of the eighth as Keith Curcio and Travis Demeritte tallied RBI singles to extend the advantage to 6-2.

In the bottom of the ninth against Sean McLaughlin, the Red Sox were able to make it interesting and then some. Hudson, Joseph Monge and Mars all singled to start the inning, with Hudson scoring on Mars’ hit. Devers doubled off the wall in right field to score Monge, and Nick Longhi followed with a single to plate Mars. A Mike Meyers sacrifice fly tied the game at six. Salem would leave the winning run at first.

Jeffry Fernandez (1-0), who had come on with two outs in the eighth, spun 3.1 perfect innings out of the bullpen to hold the Mudcats at bay through the 11th inning.

In the bottom of the 11th, Ray, who entered as a defensive replacement for Mars in the 10th, led off with a single against Lawlor (1-5). Devers doubled on the first pitch to left-center, plating Ray and giving the Red Sox their eighth walk-off win of the season, and their second in three days.

Devers finished 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles, two RBI, and a run scored. He has not hit safely in 20 consecutive games at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The game was the Salem’s fourth extra-inning game in its last 10 contests after needing extra frames four times in its previous 60 games. With the win, the Red Sox record in skirmishes lasting longer than the requisite innings is now 10-3. Salem picked up its 15th comeback win in the seventh inning or later and 20th last at-bat triumph.

The Red Sox continue the series with the Mudcats Wednesday night at LewisGale Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Salem sends Daniel McGrath (6-5, 4.24) to the mound, while Carolina counters with Andrew Thurman (0-2, 9.86). For tickets and more information, call (540) 389-3333 or slide to www.salemsox.com/tickets.

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