Salem Red Sox stun Lynchburg Hillcats with 12-11 walk-off
For the second straight night, the Salem Red Sox scored in double-digits as they defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats in 13 innings, 12-11 Saturday night at LewisGale Field. Salem collected 19 hits in the four-hour, 34-minute contest, the longest of the season.
In the bottom of the 13th inning, Deiner Lopez hit a line drive that fell in centerfield to plate Jose Sermo and hand Salem their sixth walk-off win of the season.
Salem (66-45, 23-19) jumped on Lynchburg starter Sean Brady in the first inning, scoring three times. Nick Longhi doubled to score Rafael Devers with two outs. After Mike Meyers walked, an errant throw on a stolen base allowed Longhi to score. Meyers was chased home on a Danny Mars infield single to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Red Sox expanded the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second when Devers doubled to score Joseph Monge and Reed Gragnani.
Lynchburg (71-42, 26-17) exploded in the top of the third against starter Daniel McGrath. Assisted by three Salem errors, the Hillcats sent 11 batters to the plate and scored eight runs to take an 8-5 lead. The frame was highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Bobby Bradley and Dorssys Paulino.
McGrath was removed after recording just one out in the inning, and was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on six hits. Jake Cosart struck out the two batters he faced in the inning to end the threat. Cosart was splendid in his Salem debut, eating 3.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit and striking out six.
Salem’s offense took advantage of Cosart’s goose eggs to launch a ferocious comeback in the bottom of the fifth against Brady. The Red Sox loaded the bases with nobody out, and Mars delivered a three-run double to promptly unload them and tie the game. Jordan Procyshen followed with a double to plate Mars and hand Salem a 9-8 advantage.
The Red Sox added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Justin Garcia as Meyers scorched a double off the wall in left field to score Devers and expand the gap to 10-8. Salem smacked nine two-baggers in the game, tying a season-high set July 9th against Lynchburg.
Jamie Callahan entered after Cosart, and tossed a scoreless seventh, but in the eighth the Hillcats rallied. Mark Mathias singled in a run, and then with the bases loaded, Callahan walked Anthony Santander to tie the game at 10. Callahan came back to spin a scoreless ninth inning, but Salem couldn’t score and the game went to extra innings
Jeffry Fernandez threw two scoreless innings of relief in the 10th and 11th innings, but was touched up for an unearned run in the top of the 12th as Lynchburg took an 11-10 lead. Monge cut down an additional Hillcat tally by throwing out Connor Marabell at the plate.
Salem answered back in the bottom of the 12th with two outs against Dominic DeMasi. Facing a full count, Mars tripled to score Devers, knotting the score at 11. Mars went an incredible 6-for-7 at the plate with three doubles and the triple, to tie a Salem baseball record for most hits in a single game. He drove home a career-high five runs.
In the bottom of the 13th, Sermo popped up to shortstop, but Mathias dropped the ball and DeMasi (1-1) threw the ball into centerfield allowing Sermo to get to third base. Lopez was up next and singled to plate Sermo to win the game.
Bobby Poyner (2-1) earned the victory for the Red Sox by tossing a perfect top of the 13th inning.
The Red Sox continue the series with the Hillcats Sunday afternoon at LewisGale Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 pm. Salem will send Michael Kopech (1-1, 1.27) to the mound, while Lynchburg counters with Jared Robinson (1-2, 7.71). For tickets and more information, call (540) 389-3333 or slide to www.salemsox.com/tickets.