SALEM, Va. – Courtesy:Ben Gellman/Salem Red Sox
The Red Sox (4-4, 36-40) were able to beat back the brooms, as it would have been the first four-game sweep of Salem at Haley Toyota Field since July 7-10, 2014 against the Frederick Keys. The Mudcats (5-3, 39-39) handed off a lead to their previously unflappable closer in the eighth, but couldn't hang on for the win. Salem finished 4-4 on their first homestand of the second half.
Carolina opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning against Salem starting pitcher Daniel Gonzalez (ND), who gave up a leadoff single to Dallas Carroll. The runner swiped second base, and moved up to third on a fly-out by Demi Orimoloye. Gonzalez recovered to fan Tucker Neuhaus, and Weston Wilson hit a chopper to third that looked like it would end the inning. However, Dalbec was handcuffed by the bounding ball, and it clattered off him into left field for an error. Carroll trotted home, giving the Mudcats a 1-0 lead.
The Mudcats tacked on a couple more in the top of the eighth. New reliever Yankory Pimentel gave up a leadoff single to Joantgel Segovia, and Carroll doubled to left, scoring Segovia. Orimoloye hit a grounder that Dalbec booted again, letting Carroll make it to third while Orimoloye went to first. With Neuhaus at the dish, Pimentel fired to first in a pickoff attempt, but the ball squibbed off of Jerry Downs's glove. The error allowed Carroll to speed home while Orimoloye advanced to second base. The Sox turned to Jared Oliver (W, 3-2), who got Wilson to pop out for the first out and fanned Aguilar for out number two. Cooper Hummel earned a walk to load the bases, but Cosart was able to get Nathan Rodriguez to bounce out to end the inning with Carolina ahead 3-0.
After they were stifled by Salem mounted their comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Scott led off the inning, smashing a solo homer to right to put the Sox on the board. Nick Sciortino sliced a single into left, and moved to second on a groundout to second by Chris Madera. Tyler Hill knocked a single up the middle, advancing Sciortino to third. The Mudcats turned to closer Luke Barker (BS, 1; L, 4-2), and Brett Netzer rudely welcomed him with an RBI single to right on the first pitch Barker threw. C.J. Chatham fanned for the second out, and it seemed like the Salem rally might come up short. But Dalbec deposited a hanging slider over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer to put the Sox ahead to stay. Jake Cosart (S, 3) walked leadoff man Nick Roscetti, but set down the next three batters to end the game.
Gonzalez was sharp in his seven innings, allowing just an unearned run on two hits and two walks while fanning two. Pimentel was hammered for two runs (one earned) on three hits, failing to record an out. Oliver walked one and struck out one in a scoreless frame, and Cosart did the same.
The Sox head out on the road Saturday night, starting a nine-game road swing with a four-game series against the Down East Wood Ducks. Righty Bryan Mata takes the ball for Salem against Wood Ducks southpaw Sal Mendez. First pitch at Grainger Stadium in Kinston is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool begins at 5:45 p.m. on the Red Sox broadcast network.