Sox mow down Mudcats, 2-0

Matt Barnes struck out a career-low five batters, but still overwhelmed another opposition with six scoreless innings in Salem’s 2-0 shutout victory over Carolina on Thursday night.

Allowing just two hits, Barnes let his defenders make plays behind him, scattering six groundouts and two fly balls amidst his 74-pitch, 47 strike performance. In eight professional starts, Barnes now possesses a 4-0 record and 0.60 ERA (3 ER/44.2 IP), with 67 strikeouts and six walks.

Barnes would have dominated without earning the W if not for a two-out balk in the top of the seventh that broke the scoreless stalemate. With runners at first and third, Michael Goodnight tried the fake-to-third, look-to-first maneuver and base umpire Rich Gonzalez made the call, sending Travis Shaw across home plate for Salem’s first run of the game. Goodnight and Carolina manager Edwin Rodriguez both argued the decision, but to no avail.

With a 1-0 lead, the Red Sox once again scored without an RBI when Carson Blair scurried home from third on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth. Salem finished without a run batted in, but two runs were plenty with Barnes, Jeremiah Bayer, and Mike Olmsted paving the path to the team’s third shutout of the season.

Bayer emerged in the last of the seventh and worked around two hits in two scoreless innings, striking out four Mudcats in his outing. In the ninth, Olmsted overcame a leadoff single by inducing two ground-outs to end the game, one of which was Salem’s third double-play of the day. Olmsted earned his league-leading eighth save in eight opportunities.

Salem outhit Carolina 10-5, with Brandon Jacobs finishing 3-for-four and Shaw and Xander Bogaerts each experiencing multi-hit nights. At the top of the lineup, Jackie Bradley, Jr. went 0-for-4, striking out twice and failing to reach base for the first time since April 11, snapping his streak of 29 consecutive games reaching base at least once.

With Salem’s shutout victory and Winston-Salem’s 13-inning shutout defeat against Myrtle Beach, the Red Sox have risen into first place in the Carolina League Southern Division. Since starting the year 2-5, the Sox have won 20 of their last 30 games to improve to 22-15, a half-game better than the 22-16 Dash.

Salem returns to LewisGale Field on Friday to kick off a six-game homestand with the first of three against Frederick. Drake Britton will be on the mound opposite Mike Wright, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.


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