Salem takes two from P-Nats
Sean Coyle homered for the second straight day and Travis Shaw crushed Salem’s first grand slam of the year as the Red Sox pounded the Nationals by the aggregate score of 16-2 on Wednesday afternoon at LewisGale Field.
The day began at 11 AM with the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended action, with Salem tacking four more runs onto a 6-0 lead to blank Potomac 10-zip. In a waterlogged second contest, the Sox shot out to a 6-0 lead and held on for a 6-2 triumph that wrapped up after four and a half innings when the steady precipitation intensified and rendered the field unplayable.
Beginning the day with a 6-0 lead following Tuesday’s rain that halted play in the fourth inning, Keith Couch took the torch from Miguel Celestino and shut out the Nationals for five frames, allowing just two hits and two walks. Couch improved to 4-2 on the year, becoming the third pitcher in the Carolina League to reach four wins. Offensively, the Sox pounded 16 hits in game one, with nine of them going for extra bases. Michael Almanzar went 4-5 with three doubles, while Shaw and Adalberto Ibarra each pounded three hits for Salem. The 10-0 win was Salem’s second shutout victory and the largest winning margin for the team this year.
After a 30-minute intermission, the second game commenced amidst a slight drizzle. One again, the Sox bats rocked the Potomac starter early. After Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s leadoff single, Sean Coyle unloaded for his second homer in as many days, a two-run blast over the wall in left. An inning later, Matty Johnson’s double and back-to-back walks issued to Bradley and Coyle loaded the bases for Shaw, who pounded a laser-beam over the right-field fence to extend the Salem advantage to 6-zip. The dinger for Shaw was his first Carolina League bomb and his first career grand slam.
While the offense staked Brandon Workman to the early advantage, the righthander from Texas sizzled himself over his first three innings on the mound. He struck out seven of the first nine Nationals batters, including six in a row at one point in the first few frames. He finished with eight strikeouts over four and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on two hits and four walks. Pete Ruiz entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fifth, striking out Justin Bloxom in the midst of steady rain that silenced both teams shortly thereafter.
Despite just having four offensive innings in game two, Brandon Jacobs led Salem with three hits and Johnson went 2-for-3 from the bottom of the lineup. In the first two games of the series, the Sox scored 16 runs on 26 hits, while holding the Nationals to two runs on five hits. Incredibly, 13 of Salem’s 26 knocks went for extra-bases, including four homers, two coming from Coyle.
Salem will strive for the series sweep of Potomac on Thursday night, as Ryan Pressly takes the mound opposite Matt Swynenberg. First pitch is set for 7:05 at LewisGale Field.