Salem Clips Carolina 7-4 Monday
SALEM, VA - A three-run homer from Jerry Downs proved critical for the Salem Red Sox Monday night, lifting them to a 9-4 win over the Carolina Mudcats at Haley Toyota Field.
The Sox (23-26, 55-62) earned a series split from the visitors, with a great performance from starting pitcher Kutter Crawford helping provide the room necessary for the win. Carolina (23-25, 57-61) missed out on a chance to pull back to .500 in the second half, going 1-8 with runners in scoring position.
Salem opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Mudcats starting pitcher Alec Bettinger (L, 1-4). Tyler Hill opened the frame with a double to left-center, and hustled to third on a Bettinger wild pitch. With one away, C.J. Chatham hit a dying quail to right-center for an RBI single, plating Hill for a 1-0 Salem lead.
The Sox put up a crooked number in the bottom of the third inning, as Jagger Rusconi cracked a leadoff single up the middle. With one out, Hill singled to left to advance Rusconi to second, and the hit parade was on. Brett Netzer, Chatham, and Downs each knocked consecutive RBI singles, and when all was said and done, the Sox led the Mudcats 4-0.
Carolina got on the board in the top of the fourth against Crawford (W, 1-1), who walked Cooper Hummel with one out. Ryan Aguilar made the Sox hurler pay for the free pass, shredding a triple into the gap in right-center to plate Hummel and cut the home team's lead to 4-1.
The Sox doubled their edge in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hill drew a leadoff walk, and Chatham singled with one away to put runners at the corners. Downs turned on a fastball and sent it screaming over the wall in right for a home run. The tater was Downs's 13th of the season, and ran the Salem lead to 7-1.
The Mudcats refused to go quietly, as they got to reliever Hunter Smith in the seventh inning. Smith walked leadoff man Nathan Rodriguez and gave up a single to Trever Morrison, and Devin Hairston doubled to plate Rodriguez and put runners at second and third with nobody out. Rob Henry grounded out on a high hopper to short, allowing Morrison to score and moving Hairston up to third base. Dallas Carroll lofted a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly, trimming Salem's lead to 7-4. Smith gave up a single to Demi Orimoloye and walked Hummel, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, Yankory Pimentel (H, 3) struck out Aguilar looking to end the frame. In the ninth inning, Durbin Feltman (S, 1) struck out the Mudcats in order to slam the door and secure a Salem victory.
Crawford was sharp in five innings on the hill, allowing a run on four hits and two walks while fanning seven. Smith surrendered three runs on three hits and three walks over 1.2 frames. Pimentel gave up just a walk while whiffing two in 1.1 no-hit innings. Feltman struck out all three batters he faced for the save.
The Sox will hit the road Tuesday for a three-game set at the Frederick Keys. Right-hander Tanner Houck will start the opener for Salem against Frederick righty Matthias Dietz. First pitch from Harry Grove Stadium is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Red Sox broadcast network.
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