Overall, Salem’s pitching this season has been middling at best.

But when position players climb the mound? Buckle up for domination.

Infielder Deiner Lopez made the first pitching appearance of his career on May 3, entering in the eighth inning when the Sox were trailing 12-2 at Myrtle Beach.

Lopez promptly spun a shutout frame, working around a double and a walk to keep the score right where it was. He began his outing by striking out Cam Balego, who’d gone 3 for 4 with a double in his first four plate appearances that night.

Since then, Lopez has advanced to Double-A Portland.

Last Saturday, it was Nick Lovullo’s turn. The third baseman trotted to the hill in the top of the ninth inning, with Winston-Salem leading 17-3 and having banged out 19 hits against Salem’s trained hurlers.

Lovullo threw one pitch, which Evan Skoug got under and flied to center fielder Jarren Duran for the final out of the inning.

So entering Friday’s game at Down East, those were your Salem Red Sox ERA leaders — a pair of 25-year-old hitters with spectacular hidden talents.

The Red Sox may wish they still had the services of left-handed reliever Dominic LoBrutto, who was stellar after joining the team on April 18 but has since been called back up to Portland. The Florida International University alum posted a 0.59 ERA over nine appearances for Salem, striking out 16 and walking only three over 15 1/3 innings.

NOTE: Sunday’s series opener against Potomac at Haley Toyota Field will start at 4:05 p.m. instead of the usual Sunday time of 2:05 p.m.

The change was made to comply with Carolina League rules requiring ample travel time for the visiting team.


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