Sox Drop Fifth Straight to Nationals
Despite starting off the night with a 5-0 lead, the Salem Red Sox (63-65, 28-34) could hold off the Fredericksburg Nationals (74-54, 41-21) late-game rally, as they extended their win streak to five in a 9-7 victory. Maxwell Romero Jr., who made his first start for the Nationals this week,
Despite starting off the night with a 5-0 lead, the Salem Red Sox (63-65, 28-34) could hold off the Fredericksburg Nationals (74-54, 41-21) late-game rally, as they extended their win streak to five in a 9-7 victory.
Maxwell Romero Jr., who made his first start for the Nationals this week, supplied the game-winning single in the top of the ninth to score Trey Lipscomb. The catcher went 2-5 in the evening and gave Fredericksburg their first lead of the night, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for them.
After two difficult starts to the six-game series, the Red Sox got the offense rolling right out of the gate. Eddinson Paulino led off the night with a stand-up double and then was eventually brought home due to a Brainer Bonaci single, good enough for his 50th RBI of the season.
With Allan Castro drawing in a run on a bases-loaded walk and Daniel McElveny cashing in a run on his sacrifice fly, it was Luis Ravelo who opened things with a 2-RBI double. His first two-bagger at Single-A capped off the marvelous first inning and gave Salem the commanding five-run edge.
While the start was nice for Salem, not everything played in their favor for the remainder of the night. Following his rough first inning, Fredericksburg starter Bryan Caceres at one point retired nine straight batters and gave up one hit in the back end of his six inning performance.
Fredericksburg slowly chipped away at the deficit which was started by T.J. White’s solo home run over the right field wall in the second inning to put them on the board. Later in the fourth, Will Frizzell dropped a single over the infield to score Jacob Young and cut the Salem lead to three.
The sixth inning was one to forget for Salem as a throwing error by Mikey Romero allowed the Nationals to make it a brand-new ball game at five apiece. On a Frizzell ground ball to Bonaci, the shortstop turned to second to get the force out, but Romero’s foot was too late to the bag.
Then the second baseman tried to catch Young in his tracks and fired a throw to Ahbram Liendo, but the ball bounced short and over the third baseman’s glove and two additional runs scored for the Nationals as the ball ended in the dugout.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Red Sox looked to be on the verge of regaining the lead with runners on first and second. With Ravelo at the plate, he drove a line drive down the left field line and it banged off the wall in fair play - or did it? Home plate umpire Chirstopher Jenke ruled the ball as dead as he saw the ball hit off the wall in foul play, taking two runs off the board for Salem.
Fortunately for the hosts, the Red Sox added a pair in the bottom of the seventh as Romero delivered a triple over the reaching glove of Jared McKenzie in right field. After driving home Liendo, Romero got his chance to score as well when he advanced on a wild pitch by Fredericksburg’s Holden Powell.
With another chance to hold onto the lead, Salem was looking to come out on top in arguably the most competitive game of the series. But alas, Fredericksburg found a way back into the game in the eighth inning by scoring two of their own. It wasn’t all that flashy from the Nationals as Young scored on a wild pitch and Frizzell drove home J.T. Arruda on a sacrifice flyout to left field.
As a team with the postseason glooming in the near future, Fredericksburg showed today why they will be a difficult opponent in mid-to-late September for any team.
The Salem Red Sox and Fredericksburg Nationals will meet for game four of the six-game series on Friday starting at 7:05 p.m. at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
First Pitch: 7:04 p.m.
Time of Game: 2:39
Venue: Carilion Clinic Field