Salem routs P-Nats, 13-4

Salem surged in front early and led throughout en route to a 13-4 demolition over Potomac on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium, evening up the four-game series at one game apiece heading into Saturday.

Sean Coyle recorded three extra-base hits and six RBI to lead the sizzling Sox offense, while Drew Hedman and Christian Vazquez each drove in three more to catapult the Sox to their largest run output of the season. Southpaw Manny Rivera struck out five P-Nats over three and two-thirds scoreless innings out of the pen to earn his second win of the year.

Just two batters into the ballgame, the Sox were on top. Jackie Bradley, Jr. reached on a Francisco Soriano fielding error and Coyle smashed his first double to drive him in, lifting Salem to a 1-0 lead. Back-to-back singles from Brandon Jacobs and Travis Shaw loaded the bases, and after Xander Bogaerts struck out, Christian Vazquez roped a two-run double into the gap to give the Sox a 3-0 edge. After a mound visit from the pitching coach, Nationals’ righthander Adam Olbrychowski served three-run bomb on the very next pitch, with Drew Hedman doing the honors, launching his first homer of 2012 over the right-field fence to boost Salem’s lead to 6-0.

As a consequence to the six-run first, Brandon Workman threw his first Carolina League pitch with a comfortable cushion. The Nationals chipped away via a Justin Bloxom solo homer in the second and a Michael Taylor RBI ground-out in the third, but Salem used a two-run blast from Coyle to retake a six-run lead in the top of the fourth.

With an 8-2 advantage, the Sox exploded for five more in the fifth, batting around against Nationals’ reliever Trevor Holder. Bogaerts began the rally with a one-out triple, and Vazquez drove him home with his second double of the night. Vazquez scooted to third on Hedman’s single and scored on Wilkerson’s single, making it 10-2. Following a James Kang strikeout and a Bradley walk that loaded the bases, Coyle uncorked another double into the gap, clearing the bases and bringing across three more, giving the Sox an 11-run lead.

Workman tossed 80 pitches (55 strikes) before departing with one out in the fourth, having surrendered four runs on eight hits. Rivera entered a 13-4 game and held the Nats at bay, extending his streak of innings pitches without allowing an earned run to nine and two-thirds. Mike Olmsted struck out the side in a dominant ninth to tie the bow on Salem’s seventh win of the year.

Salem finished the game with 12 hits, the fifth straight game that the Sox have recorded double-digit hits. In addition, the Red Sox went 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position on Friday, capitalizing on their opportunities and only stranding four runners on base. In the previous two games, both losses, the Sox had left a combined 24 on base.

The Sox and Nats meet again on Saturday, with a 6:35 first pitch scheduled for the third contest of the four-game series. The pitching matchup will pit Salem’s Keith Couch against Potomac’s Matt Grace.


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