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Salem snaps seven-game losing skid

Kolbrin Vitek’s two-run double, part of a four-run fifth inning for the Sox, snapped a two-all tie and helped Salem squash its seven-game losing streak, downing Frederick 5-3 on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field. Anthony Ranaudo earned his first victory since June 8, dealing five strong innings to lead the Sox to the winners’ circle for the first time since July 11. In addition, Salem’s triumph halted a ten-game losing streak against Frederick, as the Sox beat the Keys for the first time since April 17.

Ranaudo allowed two runs on four hits and three walks over five frames, improving to 2-4 in a Salem jersey. The Keys plated single runs off Ranaudo in the third and the fourth, but Frederick also stranded six runners in those three innings, missing opportunities to further damage the Salem starter. Ranaudo struck out four and retired the final five Keys he faced to finish hit outing strong.

The Sox recorded a first-inning tally against Nathan Moreau, with Derrik Gibson scoring on Jorge Padron’s RBI ground-out to give Salem a 1-0 lead. But Moreau took command from the second through the fourth, permitting only one baserunner during the dominant stretch. In the last of the fifth, trailing 2-1, Salem’s bats finally found a rhythm.

Alex Valdez drew a leadoff walk, and two batters later, Valdez advanced to third on Shannon Wilkerson’s double. Gibson’s infield single tied the game and gave Salem runners at the corners for Vitek, who pulverized a Moreau offering into the left-field corner for a two-run double. Up 4-2, Vitek crossed the plate two batters later on Bryce Brentz’ RBI single.

The Keys inched within two on Michael Flacco’s two-out single that scored Kipp Schutz in the top of the eighth against Tom Ebert, but Will Latimer retired the final four Keys, striking out two of them, to clinch the victory for Salem. Latimer earned his fourth save, firing an inning and a third of perfect baseball.

Vitek registered his 31st multi-hit performance of the season, finishing 2-4 with two RBI. Alex Valdez also mustered two hits and a walk for the Sox, who out-hit the Keys 8-6.

The homestand continues on Thursday night with the Lynchburg Hillcats in town for a three-game series. Chris Hernandez is scheduled to throw the opener against Hillcats’ lefty Blaine Sims, with the first pitch set for 7:05.

augusta free press
augusta free press