augusta free press news

Sox swept in twin-bill

Wilmington hit three homers and scored nine of its 12 runs in the sixth inning, rolling past the Salem Sox 7-1 and 5-1 in a pair of ballgames on Wednesday afternoon at LewisGale Field. Tied 1-1 after five in the opener, the Blue Rocks scored six in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of Red Sox errors in the ugly inning. In the nightcap, the Blue Rocks led 2-1 after five but broke it open thanks to Rey Navarro’s three-run homer in the sixth, giving Wilmington more than enough offense to prevail.

Salem received two quality efforts from its starting pitchers, but collectively hit .188 in the doubleheader. Chris Hernandez (4 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K, 3 BB) and Drake Britton (5.1 IP, H, 3 ER, 7 K, 4 BB) kept the Sox close, yet uncharacteristic wobbliness from the bullpen helped the Blue Rocks break away. Wilmington scored six times off Jeremiah Bayer in the opener, soaring Bayer’s ERA from 0.72 to 2.74, while Kendal Volz surrendered a three-run homer in game two. Two of those runs were charged to Volz.

Tim Ferguson drilled a two-run homer in the sixth inning in the opener, while Whit Merrifield launched his first Carolina League homer in the third inning of the nightcap. Merrifield’s shot was the only hit allowed by Britton, but four walks contributed to three earned runs going against him.

Salem mustered three extra-base hits in the doubleheader, including two doubles for Peter Hissey. Kolbrin Vitek went 3-6 with an RBI, while Dan Butler also drove in a run, his 27th RBI of the season.

Having lost six straight and nine of the last 10 following a 20-7 start to the season, the Salem Sox (21-16) are currently two back of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Southern Division. Following the finale to the homestand on Thursday, Salem will play 25 of its remaining 32 games in the first half on the road.

The Red Sox will look to snap their skid on Thursday in the final game of the series with the Blue Rocks, as Chris Balcom-Miller takes the ball against Justin Marks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.