Salem shuts out Carolina in doubleheader
The Salem Red Sox got two dominant pitching performances from Corey Littrell and Justin Haley, leading the way to wins of 3-0 and 2-0 over the Mudcats Friday night in Zebulon. It’s just the third time in franchise history that Salem has shut out the opposition in both games of a double header. The previous two came May 2, 1976 at Peninsula and May 20, 2004 at Winston Salem.
In game one, Littrell bounced back from his shortest outing of the season last week against Carolina by throwing 6 shutout innings, surrendering just 3 hits. Littrell tied a season high with 8 strikeouts, improving to 3-2 on the season. Dayan Diaz picked up his second save of the season, striking out two in a 1-2-3 7th.
The Red Sox dealt Mudcats starter Ryan Merritt his first loss of the season. Merritt allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, and 5 hits in 5 innings in the loss. The offense started with a solo homer by Jonathan Roof in the first inning to give the Sox an early lead. Then in the fourth, a throwing error by Mudcats third baseman James Roberts allowed Mario Martinez to score from first. Ryan Dent drove in the Sox third run later in the frame.
In the nightcap, Justin Haley was dominant, tying a career high with 9 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. Like Littrell before, Haley also surrendered just 3 hits, two of which came from James Roberts. Carolina had scored in all 36 of its previous games coming into play Friday.
Salem managed just two runs in game two, both coming on a two out, two run home run by Dreily Gurrero in the 4th inning off Carolina starter Michael Peoples. The Sox had multiple chances to scratch across more, including loading the bases with no outs off Peoples in the 5th. But reliever Jacob Lee came in and held the Sox off the board. Salem left 10 men on base in the game.
With the win, Salem holds a two game lead over Carolina for second place in the South division, The Sox and Mudcats return to Five County Stadium for game three of the four game series tomorrow night at 6. Pat Light will make the start for the Sox, while Cole Sulser takes the ball for the Cats.