Wilmington socks Salem, 8-3
Salem put runners on in every inning, but managed runs in just one frame. A three-run rally with two gone in the top of the third lifted the Sox to a 3-1 lead, but Wilmington quickly countered with five in the last of the third to lead 6-3. Wilmington scored twice more in the fourth and snapped its five game losing streak, ending Salem’s five game winning streak in the process. The game lasted 3:34 minutes, Salem’s longest tilt of the 2012 season thus far.
Salem starter Drake Britton struggled with his command, but minimized damage through two innings. The Blue Rocks took a 1-0 lead on Brian Fletcher’s RBI single, but aided by a double play, Britton escaped in the first and then circumnavigated a bases-loaded thread unscathed in the second.
In the last of the third, however, Britton followed up Salem’s three-run rally by walking three straight Blue Rock batters to start the inning. With six walks in two-plus innings, his day ended with the bases loaded and nobody out. Pete Ruiz entered and could not hold the lead, yielding three singles and a walk that eventually led to five Wilmington runs. The Blue Rocks did not record an extra-base hit until the seventh, but nickel and dimed their way to an 8-3 lead that would not be relinquished.
Brandon Jacobs delivered a pair of doubles, one of which drove in Salem’s first run to tie the game in the top of the third. Xander Bogaerts followed Jacobs’ two-bagger with a two-run single off Wilmington starter Greg Billo to surge Salem into the lead. But Britton’s erratic response allowed Wilmington to quickly reassert its advantage.
Roman Hernandez and Geulin Beltre both finished with three hits to lead Wilmington, while Jacobs and Bogaerts each had two hits for Salem. Jon Keck tossed three scoreless innings of relief out of the Blue Rocks bullpen to pick up the win, while Britton suffered the loss, allowing four runs on two hits and six walks in two-plus frames.
Salem and Wilmington will continue their four-game series on Tuesday night, with Miguel Celestino and Sugar Ray Marimon scheduled to square off on the mound. First pitch is set for 6:35.