FOR THE SERIES WIN: Tanner Nishioka broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Salem Red Sox the lead for good as they defeated the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, 4-2, Wednesday night at Haley Toyota Field. The Sox took the rubber match of the three-game series in front of an announced crowd of 1,897.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: Entering the seventh inning, Salem had only two hits and hadn’t had a base runner past first base since the first. That changed when the Sox plated three runs, two earned, on three hits in the inning, giving them both the lead and a pair of insurance runs. Fayetteville got one back when Andrew Schwaab surrendered one run in the bottom of the ninth. Yet he eventually slammed the door for his third save.
TRENDING UPWARD: The Red Sox were dreadful in the Carolina League first half as they had a record of 25-42, but finished with a four-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break. Salem has carried that momentum into the second half with back-to-back series wins — it took three of four games off the Down East Wood Ducks over the weekend to open up the half. The Sox are now 5-2 in the second half and have won nine of their past 11 games overall.
DIAZ’S DAY: After working around trouble and stranding the bases loaded in the first inning, Salem starter Jhonathan Diaz settled in. He struck out five batters over 5.1 innings of one-run ball and allowed only five hits but was forced to take a no decision. Diaz began the outing with an ERA of 6.55 and lowered it to 6.13. It was his second consecutive strong start — Diaz tossed six shutout innings in his last start, a 4-3 Salem win over Down East on Friday.
ODDS AND ENDS: Hunter Smith earned the win out of the bullpen with 2.2 shutout innings and four strikeouts. Salem relievers have now accounted for 13 of the team’s 30 wins this season…Sox outfielder Edgar Corcino went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He had 17 strikeouts in 104 plate appearances entering Wednesday’s game…Fayetteville starter Luis Garcia struck out eight and allowed only one hit and one unearned run over five innings, lowering his ERA to 0.98.
UP NEXT: The Sox continue their home stand on Thursday with the first game of a four-game set against the Winston-Salem Dash. Salem will send RHP Bryan Mata (3-1, 1.79 ERA) to the mound while the Dash have not announced a starting pitcher. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.at Haley Toyota Field.