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Salem tops Wilmington, 2-1

salem red soxWilliam Cuevas dazzled like an ace on Wednesday night, dealing six dominant shutout innings to help the Salem Red Sox beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 2-1 at LewisGale Field. Cuevas joined with Madison Younginer and Kyle Martin to complete the two-hitter, with Wilmington’s lone run coming thanks to a Salem error. Offensively, Jonathan Roof registered two doubles and two walks to lead the Sox sticks.
Cuevas retired the first 11 men he faced and permitted just one hit in six brilliant frames on the hill. Terrance Gore stroked a clean line drive single into left field with one out in the sixth, but Cuevas set down the next two men easily to finish his outing in just 69 pitches, with 46 strikes. He struck out three and walked none, permitting just two baserunners (Hunter Dozier reached on an error in the third inning).
The Sox broke the scoring seal in the last of the third, with Matty Johnson’s one-out single prefacing a Ryan Dent walk. With two runners aboard, Jonathan Roof pounded a double into the left-field corner, scoring Johnson from second. While Dent was thrown out at the plate, Salem had still surged in front 1-0.
Three innings later, Salem doubled its lead in the last of the sixth. Roof worked a nine-pitch walk to begin the frame, and then Tim Roberson launched the ninth pitch of his at-bat to the wall in right-center for an RBI double. The drawn-out battles against Wilmington reliever Glenn Sparkman proved to be vital, considering what happened in the aftermath.
Younginer engineered a 1-2-3 seventh out of the bullpen, but surrendered a leadoff double to Jack Lopez in the top of the eighth. Mark Donato’s fly-out advanced Lopez to third, and Younginer struck out Daniel Rockett for the second out. Gore attempted to bunt for a hit, but pushed it hard right at the pitcher. With plenty of time to throw out the runner and maintain the shutout, Younginer airmailed the throw to first, allowing Lopez to score. With Gore in scoring position at second base, Younginer struck out Raul A. Mondesi to strand the tying man in scoring position.
In the ninth, Dozier reached on a strikeout wild pitch with one out, but Martin induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play from Zane Evans to end the game.
Roof finished 2-for-2 with two walks, two doubles, a run, and an RBI. Johnson added a multi-hit effort for Salem, going 2-for-4. Sox second-baseman Reed Gragnani recorded a sacrifice bunt, but went 0-for-3 and saw his eight-game hitting streak come to a close.
The Salem Sox remain at home and begin a four-game series against the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday. Cody Kukuk is slated to make his second carolina league start, and he’ll go head to head with Mudcats lefty Shawn Morimondo, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.