STATEMENT NIGHT: The Salem Red Sox took a couple of big steps toward making the postseason on Saturday night, earning two wins against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in front of an announced crowd of 4,198 at Haley Toyota Field.

After a Myrtle Beach error gifted the Sox a 12-inning, 5-4 victory in the resumption of Friday’s suspended game, pitcher Enmanuel DeJesus and leadoff man Garrett Benge had big performances to lead Salem to a 5-1 triumph in the regularly scheduled game.

The victories moved the first-place Sox (34-27 second half) 2.5 games ahead of Potomac for the Northern Division’s final playoff spot.

Although Wilmington lurks just a half-game back of Salem, the Blue Rocks have already qualified for the postseason by winning the first-half title. A wild card would be awarded to the second-place team should Wilmington overtake Salem in the season’s final nine games.

DELAYED GRATIFICATION: Suspended by rain with the score tied 4-4 after the 10th inning late Friday night, the first game continued into the 12th, where Myrtle Beach plated a run on a bases-loaded walk in the top half to take a 5-4 lead.

Salem responded immediately in the bottom half. Devlin Granberg singled home Ryan Fitzgerald, who’d begun the inning on second base per minor league extra-innings rules.

Two outs later, Michael Osinski came up with runners on first and second. He hit a routine grounder toward shortstop Aramis Ademan, who had the ball squirt through his legs for an error.

Granberg raced around third to score the winning run.

SHUTTING THEM DOWN: DeJesus (8-9) was brilliant in the nightcap, tossing seven shutout innings. The southpaw allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out seven, departing with a 1-0 lead.

It was a nice turnaround for DeJesus, who entered the game having surrendering 30 hits across 20 1/3 innings in August.

THE IGNITOR: Benge went 4 for 5 with three RBIs in the late game, delivering two crucial hits and one scintillating defensive play.

Benge singled home the contest’s first run in the second inning. With the Sox clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, he ripped a two-run double to pad the lead.

The third baseman capped his big night by making a diving stab of Cam Balego’s sharp grounder with two outs in the ninth. Benge scrambled to his feet and fired to first for the game’s final out.

LOOSE ENDS: Sox lefty Dominic LoBrutto tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to lower his ERA to 1.95…Second baseman Grant Williams, who joined Salem on Aug. 13, went 2 for 4 and is hitting .346 in the Carolina League…Myrtle Beach went 2 for 21 with runners in scoring position in the two games combined.

ON DECK: The Sox and Pelicans conclude their three-game series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday, with Salem RHP Dylan Thompson (5-8, 5.68) slated to face Myrtle Beach RHP Alexander Vargas (2-4, 5.03).

Myrtle Beach 
000301000001 591
400000000002 681
Martinez (4-4, 3.18) ;
Lawlor (0-2, 2.32)
Amaya (11) ,
Fennell (5) .
Cottam (1) .
Game Story:
Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Carlos SepulvedaDH600000001.239
Delvin Zinn2B-CF512000000.228
Grant FennellLF411001211.252
Miguel AmayaC532001101.243
Luke Reynolds1B401000012.220
Cam Balego3B401000010.255
Aramis AdemanSS501000000.220
Jose GutierrezCF300000002.176
    a- Jhonny BethencourtPH-2B100000000.208
Kevonte MitchellRF401100113.197
a-Grounded into a forceout for Gutierrez in the 12th. 

2B: Mitchell (12, Gonzalez, D).
HR: Fennell (5, 4th inning off Gonzalez, D, 1 on, 0 out); Amaya (11, 6th inning off Gonzalez, D, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Ademan; Amaya 5; Balego; Fennell 4; Mitchell 2; Reynolds; Zinn 2.
RBI: Amaya (55); Fennell 2 (47); Mitchell (41).
2-out RBI: Mitchell.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Fennell; Sepulveda 4.
SAC: Gutierrez.
GIDP: Balego.
Team RISP: 2-for-12.
Team LOB: 8.

SB: Zinn 2 (13, 2nd base off Gonzalez, D/Cottam, 2nd base off Gonzalez, D/Cottam).

E: Ademan (22, fielding).
DP: 2 (Ademan-Zinn-Reynolds; Balego-Zinn-Reynolds).

Salem Red Sox
Tanner NishiokaDH511100000.228
Ryan FitzgeraldSS522000003.276
Devlin GranbergLF-1B511000200.200
Keith CurcioCF511010101.307
Kole CottamC511001202.250
Jerry Downs1B100000000.216
    a- Victor AcostaPH-LF200000011.282
Michael Osinski3B501100002.263
Jagger RusconiRF401000001.192
Grant Williams2B300000000.318
a-Grounded out for Downs in the 4th. 

2B: Nishioka (14, Hudson); Osinski (4, Hockin).
3B: Curcio (4, Hudson).
HR: Cottam (1, 1st inning off Hudson, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Cottam 4; Curcio 3; Fitzgerald 2; Granberg; Nishioka 2; Osinski 2; Rusconi.
RBI: Cottam 2 (4); Curcio (19); Granberg 2 (7).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rusconi 2; Fitzgerald.
SAC: Acosta; Williams, G.
GIDP: Granberg; Nishioka.
Team RISP: 4-for-11.
Team LOB: 5.

E: Cottam (2, throw).
Outfield assists: Rusconi (Balego at 2nd base); Acosta (Sepulveda at home).
DP: 2 (Fitzgerald-Williams, G-Downs; Acosta-Cottam).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Bryan Hudson3.05440115.22
Erling Moreno2.01000106.22
Chad Hockin2.01000301.35
Manuel Rodriguez2.00000203.40
Scott Effross1.00000203.12
Ryan Lawlor (L, 0-2)1.21201102.32
Salem Red Sox
Daniel Gonzalez6.08440524.23
Rio Gomez2.00000203.05
Andrew Schwaab2.01000302.19
Joan Martinez (W, 4-4)2.00104003.18
WP: Gonzalez, D.
IBB: Fennell (by Martinez, J); Acosta (by Lawlor).
Pitches-strikes: Hudson 47-28; Moreno 18-15; Hockin 23-16; Rodriguez, M 18-15; Effross 8-7; Lawlor 28-20; Gonzalez, D 104-68; Gomez, R 30-22; Schwaab 24-16; Martinez, J 28-12.
Groundouts-flyouts: Hudson 5-0; Moreno 4-0; Hockin 0-1; Rodriguez, M 3-1; Effross 1-0; Lawlor 4-1; Gonzalez, D 8-1; Gomez, R 1-1; Schwaab 1-0; Martinez, J 2-2.
Batters faced: Hudson 13; Moreno 6; Hockin 7; Rodriguez, M 6; Effross 3; Lawlor 8; Gonzalez, D 25; Gomez, R 6; Schwaab 6; Martinez, J 9.
Umpires: HP: Drew Saluga. 1B: Jake Bruner. 
Weather: 83 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 3 mph, Varies.
First pitch: 7:06 PM.
T: 3:27 (:40 delay).
Att: 4,971.
Venue: Haley Toyota Field.
Myrtle Beach 
000000010  143
01000013X  5110
De Jesus (8-9, 3.75) ;
Assad (4-10, 3.80)
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Carlos Sepulveda2B300000111.237
Delvin ZinnSS400000001.223
Grant FennellLF400000003.249
Miguel AmayaDH400000001.240
Cam BalegoC401100001.255
Luke Reynolds1B300000000.218
Jhonny Bethencourt3B211000010.212
Kevonte MitchellRF302100000.202
Zac TaylorCF200000001.139

2B: Balego (18, De Jesus); Mitchell (13, De Jesus).
TB: Balego 2; Bethencourt; Mitchell 3.
RBI: Sepulveda (35).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Fennell 2; Sepulveda; Zinn.
SAC: Taylor.
Team RISP: 0-for-9.
Team LOB: 4.

CS: Bethencourt (8, 2nd base by De Jesus/Marrero).

E: Assad (2, pickoff); Taylor (1, fielding); Bethencourt (12, throw).
DP: (Reynolds-Zinn-Reynolds).

Salem Red Sox
Garrett Benge3B524100300.257
Ryan FitzgeraldSS501000000.275
Devlin Granberg1B401000100.204
Keith CurcioCF401100010.306
Jerry DownsDH200000020.208
Victor AcostaLF400000001.279
Elih MarreroC311000010.147
Grant Williams2B412000001.346
Jagger RusconiRF311000001.193

2B: Curcio (20, Assad); Benge (16, De Los Rios).
TB: Benge 5; Curcio 2; Fitzgerald; Granberg; Marrero; Rusconi; Williams, G 2.
RBI: Benge 3 (34); Granberg (8).
2-out RBI: Benge.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Curcio; Rusconi 2; Acosta 3.
SAC: Rusconi.
GIDP: Fitzgerald.
Team RISP: 3-for-13.
Team LOB: 11.

SB: Granberg (1, 2nd base off De Los Rios/Balego).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Javier Assad (L, 4-10)5.15104103.80
Enrique De Los Rios2.26430202.27
Salem Red Sox
Enmanuel De Jesus (W, 8-9)7.03001703.75
Yoan Aybar (H, 1)1.01111004.50
Dominic LoBrutto1.00000101.95
HBP: Granberg (by Assad).
Pitches-strikes: Assad 84-49; De Los Rios 42-32; De Jesus 92-57; Aybar, Y 19-11; LoBrutto 10-7.
Groundouts-flyouts: Assad 6-3; De Los Rios 4-1; De Jesus 6-5; Aybar, Y 3-0; LoBrutto 1-0.
Batters faced: Assad 25; De Los Rios 15; De Jesus 24; Aybar, Y 5; LoBrutto 3.
Inherited runners-scored: De Los Rios 3-0.
Umpires: HP: Jake Bruner. 1B: Drew Saluga. 
Weather: 72 degrees, Overcast.
Wind: 3 mph, Varies.
First pitch: 6:25 PM.
T: 2:50.
Att: 4,198.
Venue: Haley Toyota Field.
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