LAYING AN EGG: The Salem Red Sox were tagged for 18 runs on 15 hits as they fell to the Lynchburg Hillcats, 18-1, Saturday night at Haley Toyota Field. Salem dropped to 17-19 in front of an announced attendance of 8,856, the largest crowd in franchise history.
UNLUCKY SEVEN: Salem’s loss on Saturday night was its seventh in a row. The Sox have not won since defeating Potomac, 5-2, on May 5 in Woodbridge. Salem has been outscored a combined 66-26 during the skid.
MOWED DOWN: Hillcats starter Tanner Tully earned the win after allowing just one unearned run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings pitched. Tully retired 12 consecutive Salem batters in a stretch that started in the third and ended in the seventh inning.
THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: The wheels came off for the Red Sox in the fourth and fifth innings. With the game tied at one entering the fourth, Salem surrendered three runs, one earned, in the fourth inning — damage that was aided by two walks and two Red Sox errors. The Hillcats grabbed four more runs in the fifth inning, an inning that was highlighted by a two-run double from Jodd Carter, and Salem trailed 8-1 midway through the fifth.
AND NEVER DE-ESCALATED: Lynchburg piled on to its lead with a four-run seventh inning and a five-run eighth. Hillcats third baseman Alexis Pantoja put an exclamation point on the Hillcats barrage with a grand slam in the eighth that pushed the score to 17-1.
SCUFFLING PROSPECT: Tanner Houck was tagged with the loss for Salem after he allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits over four plus innings pitched. It was the second consecutive start during which he has allowed five earned runs. Rated as the number three prospect in the Boston system by MLB.com, the 2017 first round draft pick fell to 1-5 on the season and his ERA swelled to 6.00.
LOOSE ENDS: Salem infielder Carlos Tovar pitched the final 1.2 innings and allowed one run. It was the first time a position player had pitched for Salem since Jordan Betts threw a scoreless inning on Sept. 4, 2016. … Santiago Espinal extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an infield single in the eighth. … Eight of the 18 Lynchburg runs were scored off of walks or hit batters. … The 17-run loss was the worst in the Salem Red Sox era, eclipsing a 15-0 loss to Lynchburg on July 4, 2015.
ON DECK: The Sox and Hillcats conclude their four-game series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Salem RHP Roniel Raudes (2-3, 3.71) will square off with Lynchburg RHP Felix Tati (0-1, 3.60).