Wilmington edges Salem Red Sox

The Salem Red Sox put runners on base in eight of the nine innings but only scored once, and Wilmington’s meager offensive performance was enough to earn the Blue Rocks a 2-1 win on Saturday evening at Frawley Stadium.

Andy Ferguson outdueled Keith Couch, although both starters threw well. Ferguson dealt seven innings to improve to 2-2, permitting just one run on five hits, while Couch fell to 8-9, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. The Blue Rocks will go for a three-game sweep of the Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Carson Blair led off the third inning with a solo blast to center, his second homer of the year, surging the Sox to a 1-0 lead. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Cheslor Cuthbert singled home Brett Eibner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. Couch induced an Geulin Beltre double play to escape the threat without further damage, keeping the score tied at one after three innings.

The game remained even into the last of the fifth, when Eibner was plunked with one out. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Lane Adams single to left, moving the Blue Rocks into a 2-1 lead.

Salem put a man in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, but never capitalized with a clutch hit that could have tied the game. The Sox finished 0-for-7 with men in scoring position and never advanced Shannon Wilkerson past first base in the ninth.

Robinson Yambati tossed the final two innings for the Blue Rocks and earned his second save. Will Latimer dealt three scoreless out of the Red Sox bullpen, keeping the Blue Rocks from adding any insurance runs and striking out four.

Cuthbert led Wilmington with three hits, while Adams and Beltre each added two hits for the Rocks. Felix Sanchez was the only Red Sox hitter to register multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4.

Salem has now dropped three in a row and five of the last six, bringing the full-season record to 59-58-1. On Sunday, Salem will be playing to avoid slipping back to .500 for the year; the Sox have been above .500 since an April 27 victory against Carolina gave Salem a 10-9 mark.

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