Salem tops Carolina in opener

In his first start at LewisGale Field, Brandon Workman made a strong first impression, dealing six scoreless innings as Salem won its premier matchup with Carolina by a final of 7-2.

Workman required just 61 pitches, 44 of which were strikes, in his dominating performance, allowing just three hits. He struck out four and did not walk anybody, and the Red Sox scored twice in the second, three times in the fifth, and twice more in the seventh to surge to a 7-0 lead. Manny Rivera allowed a two-run homer in the eighth that broke up the shutout, but he still earned his first save of the season with a three-inning stint to finish the ballgame.

Salem broke the scoreless draw in the last of the second, using an RBI single from Michael Almanzar and an RBI ground-out from Felix Sanchez. Before the Mudcats advanced another man past first base, Salem’s bottom of the lineup triggered another run-producing rally in the fifth. Almanzar’s sky-high pop up fell in shallow right field for a leadoff double, and Sanchez’ bunt single moved Almanzar to third. Jackie Bradley, Jr. crushed a double to the wall in right-center, scoring Almanzar to make it 3-0. Two batters later, Travis Shaw’s sac fly plated Sanchez to increase the margin to four. With two outs and Bradley at third, Brandon Jacobs smashed a RBI single to make it 5-0, as Bradley scored a run for the ninth consecutive game.

In the last of the seventh, catcher Christian Vazquez crushed his first homer of the season, a two-run missile that soared over the fence in left. With the score 7-0, Anthony Gallas responded with a two-run bomb off Rivera, but Salem still had a five-run cushion that would stand for the rest of the night.

Shannon Wilkerson joined Almanzar with two hits for the Red Sox, while Vazquez scored two runs and drove in a pair in addition to receiving a couple of walks. Gallas went 3-for-3 for Carolina, finishing a triple shy of the cycle, in defeat for the Mudcats.

Winners of three in a row and above .500 for the year at 10-9, the Salem Sox will host Carolina on Saturday at 6:05. Ryan Pressly is slated to start for the Sox opposite Mike Rayl for the Mudcats.



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