SLOW START…STRONG FINISH: The Salem Red Sox fell behind 3-0 before erupting with a four-run fifth inning to take a lead they would not relinquish in a 6-3 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats Friday night at Haley Toyota Field. Salem snapped a four-game losing streak with the win in front of an announced crowd of 3,071 and maintained first place in the Northern Division in the Carolina League’s second-half standings.
WAKE UP THE BATS: Salem grabbed the lead for good in the fifth inning. After the Sox had managed only two hits and no runs through the first four innings, they began to chip away at a 3-0 deficit thanks to Ryan Fitzgerald’s sacrifice fly. Following that, a walk to Pedro Castellanos and Keith Curcio’s single loaded the bases. Lynchburg pitcher Juan Mota then walked Edgar Corcino with the bases loaded, pushing across a run for Salem.
The Hillcats then summoned reliever Felix Tati to face Victor Acosta. Acosta fell behind in the count, 0-2, but then chopped a fastball up the middle, scoring two runs and giving the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. Salem also scored runs in the sixth and seventh innings .
THE PEN WAS MIGHTY: Andrew Politi entered in the sixth for Salem and tossed three shutout innings. He struck out four batters and allowed only one hit and a walk before giving way to Zach Schellenger for the ninth.
Politi had allowed multiple runs in each of his last three relief appearances . Schellenger induced three consecutive ground balls to shut the door on the Hillcats and earn his second save with the Red Sox.
SCHEDULING ODDITY: Despite the two ballparks being separated by only 48 miles and the two teams playing in the same division, the current series between Salem and Lynchburg represents the season’s only visit the Hillcats will make to Haley Toyota Field.
It’s a lengthy series, as the Red Sox and Hillcats will play six consecutive games against one another between an off day on Monday .
This does not cut down on travel time for Lynchburg, however, as series between Salem and the Hillcats are designated as commuter series. The visiting team rides the bus from their home ballpark early in the day and returns home after each game.
ODDS AND ENDS: Garrett Benge’s home run in the sixth inning was his third of the season, establishing a new career high. … Acosta went 2 for 4 with three RBI, his sixth three-RBI game of the season. … Curcio had three hits, his third multi-hit game in his last five outings.
on Deck: The six-game series between the Sox and Hillcats continues on Saturday . Salem is scheduled to start LHP Jhonathan Diaz (6-6, 4.27 ERA) against Lynchburg LHP Juan Hillman (4-10, 3.92 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Haley Toyota Field.