Salem snaps four-game slide, tops Blue Rocks, 3-1

salem red soxThe Salem Red Sox broke a 1-1 tied with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 3-1 on Thursday night at LewisGale Field, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Salem and Wilmington were knotted at one after the seventh inning stretch and the Sox began the home half with Yoilan Cerse reaching on a hit by pitch. Jordan Procyshen dropped a sacrifice bunt down to advance Cerse to second and Jordan Betts singled to right to move him to third. Mauricio Dubon then bled a soft grounder through the hole on the right side, scoring Cerse to give Salem the lead. Forrestt Allday followed by chopping a grounder past Jack Lopez at shortstop that knocked in Betts and gave Salem a 3-1 advantage.

Kyle Kraus, who had come in relief of Ty Buttrey in the sixth inning, kept the Blue Rocks off the board in the eight and ninth innings to preserve the victory. Kraus (1-0) struck out six in his four scoreless innings with one hit and one walk allowed.

Wilmington’s lone run came in the first inning as they scored in the top of the first for the fifth straight game. Buttrey hit Mauricio Ramos with a pitch with two outs in the inning and Ryan O’Hearn singled immediately after. Elier Hernandez knocked in Ramos with a single in the next at bat to give the Blue Rocks a 1-0 lead.

Buttrey did not factor in the decision as he allowed one run on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts in five-plus innings pitched.

Salem tied the game in the fourth with a two-out rally sparked by a Kevin Heller walk. Heller took second base on a wild pitch and then scored on a Cole Sturgeon bloop single to shallow right.

Heller was 2-for-2 with two singles, two walks and a run scored. He has now reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances in the series, including six hits. Dubon and Allday were each 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI while Betts was 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Evan Beal (0-1) took the loss with two runs on six hits over three innings. Luis Rico started for Wilmington, giving up a run on three hits in five innings. Salem improved to 50-48 overall and 12-16 in the second half with the win. Wilmington dropped to 51-46 and 13-14.

The Sox and Rocks will play a rubber game in the three-game series on Friday night at 7:05. Trey Ball (7-8, 3.61) will start for Salem against Wilmignton’s Zach Lovvorn (1-1, 6.00). It’s Christmas Eve in July at the ballpark and Santa Claus will be making an appearance. It’s also another Freedom Friday with a postgame fireworks show. Fans unable to attend can listen to the game on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online at or via the TuneIn Radio app.

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