Red Sox off to quick start in second half of Carolina League season

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Santiago Espinal, Brett Netzer and teammates mob Jordan Procyshen after walk off wiin, June 23rd 2018 Salem Red Sox

The Salem Red Sox will wrap up their eight game homestand on Friday against the Carolina Mudcats. Salem took three out of four from Frederick then opened a four game series at Haley Toyota Field on Tuesday after a day off Monday.

On Sunday in Salem the Red Sox bats took a while to wake up in earnest, but they made a huge impact in a five-run seventh inning as the team rolled to a 7-1 victory over the Keys to take the series, three games to one, to open the second half of the 2018 season.

Down 1-0, the Sox drew level in the bottom of the fifth against Frederick starting pitcher Alex Wells (ND). Trenton Kemp mashed a one-out double to left, putting himself in scoring position. Nick Sciortino hit a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop that Alejandro Juvier fielded, but Sciortino was able to beat out the throw to first. Kemp took off on Juvier’s off-balance throw, and first baseman Wilson Garcia tried to nab Kemp at third. However, Garcia’s throw was way over the head of third baseman Collin Woody, and Kemp zipped home to tie the game at 1-1.

The Sox made their move in the bottom of the seventh against Keys reliever James Teague. On a 2-0 count, Kemp smashed a majestic homer over the left-field wall, his third dinger of the year. Sciortino then worked a walk, and Santiago Espinal singled him to second base. Following a line-out to right by Brett Netzer, C.J. Chatham singled to load the bases. Bobby Dalbec took advantage of the opportunity, smashing a hot shot to third that Collin Woody dove for but couldn’t haul in; the ball trickled away in foul territory, and Sciortino and Espinal both raced home while Chatham took third on the two-run double. Tyler Hill hit a sacrifice fly to medium center field, and Chatham scored while Dalbec took third on Nichting’s throw. The Keys brought in relief arm Steven Klimek to try to stem the bleeding, but his second pitch was wild, allowing Dalbec to trot home with the fifth run of the inning. When the dust had cleared, Salem had taken a 6-1 lead.

The Sox tacked on one more in the bottom of the eighth. Sciortino banged a one-out double up the left field line, and Espinal reached first when Woody booted a bouncer to third. Netzer flew out to right, and Sciortino made it to third after tagging up. Chatham rapped a single into left field, plating Sciortino for Salem’s final 7-1 margin.

Bryan Mata took a no-decision, allowing just an unearned run on three hits and three walks while fanning four. Kevin McAvoy allowed a walk and a hit-by-pitch in his lone inning of work, whiffing one. Joan Martinez (W, 2-1) worked around a hit, a walk and a hit batter to record the win in two shutout frames, recording one strikeout. Taylor Ahearn tossed a perfect ninth with one strikeout to close out the game.

Following the Carolina series the Red Sox will be on the road for nine days with a four game series at Down East and a five game series at Potomac, including a 4th of July road game against the Nationals. Salem will return home in the midst of the Salem Fair with four games against Winston-Salem, beginning July 9.