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Red Sox, Hillcats wrap up first-half of the season

Salem and Lynchburg split the weekend series

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Courtesy of Salem Red Sox:

The Salem Red Sox closed out the first half of the 2018 campaign in fine fashion Sunday afternoon, as Bobby Dalbec's league-best 14th homer lifted the team to a 3-2 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats at Calvin Falwell Field.

Salem (32-36) secured a series split against their regional rivals after not leading at all on Friday or Saturday. Lynchburg (29-38) squandered numerous scoring opportunities, leaving nine runners on base between the fourth and seventh innings.

Lynchburg tallied in the bottom of the first inning against Salem starter Bryan Mata (W, 4-2). Leadoff man Mitch Longo hit a cue-shot up the first base line for a double before advancing to third on a groundout by Dillon Persinger. Conner Capel blooped a single into shallow left, scoring Longo and giving the Hillcats a 1-0 lead.

The Sox drew level in the top of the fourth against Lynchburg lefty Tanner Tully (L, 2-8). Roldani Baldwin singled with one away, and Ryan Scott doubled to right to put runners at second and third with two outs. Tyler Hill fell behind 0-2 before ripping a single back through the middle to score Baldwin and tie the ballgame at 1-1.

Salem leapt ahead in the top of the sixth inning. Baldwin laced a single through the left side with one away, and Dalbec belted a two-run bomb over the right-field wall. The opposite-field blast gave the Sox a 3-1 advantage.

Lynchburg crept a little closer in the bottom of the eighth against Salem reliever Yankory Pimentel (H, 1), who gave up a one-out single to Anthony Miller before a groundout to first by Alexis Pantoja advanced Miller to second. Logan Ice flipped a soft single into center field, scoring Miller and trimming the lead to 3-2. However, Pimentel was able to get out of the inning without surrendering anything else, and Jake Cosart (S, 2) locked down the game with a perfect ninth inning.

Mata allowed one run on three hits and four walks while fanning seven over a season-best 5.2 innings of action. Enmanuel De Jesus (H, 1) worked around a hit and a walk in 1.1 shutout innings of work, recording one strikeout. Pimentel surrendered a run on two hits in one inning of work. Cosart struck out two batters in a perfect inning of work.

The Sox will send five players to the Carolina League All-Star Classic at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats. Catcher Roldani Baldwin, first baseman Jerry Downs and shortstop Santiago Espinal comprise the hitting delegation, while the pitching staff sends relievers Matthew Gorst and Daniel Gonzalez down to Zebulon. The Red Sox will kick off the second half with a four-game series against the Frederick Keys at Haley Toyota Field starting Thursday, June 21. For tickets and more information, fans can visit the Haley Toyota Field box office or visit www.SalemSox.com.