The K-Tribe swept a double dip, defeating Salem 3-1 and 6-5 Thursday night in Virginia. With the win the K-Tribe takes the four game series and is now just two games out of first place in the Carolina League Southern Division.
In game one, Salem starter Stolmy Pimentel kept Kinston bats at bay until the top of the fourth inning. Karexon Sanchez began the frame with a double. With two-outs in the inning and Sanchez still at second base, Kyle Bellows gave Kinston a 1-0 lead with an RBI double. Bellows came into the game hitting .362 against Salem this season. Kinston starter Austin Adams was solid earlier, giving up just two singles through his first three innings of work. Reliever Tyler Sturdevant then filled in for Adams when play resumed Sturdevant gave up no runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings for the win. He walked two and struck out three. Bellows continued to sock Salem in the top of the sixth inning, when his second RBI double of the game drove home Karexon Sanchez and Chun Chen to give Kinston a 3-0 lead. The hit came off of Salem reliever Seth Garrison. Bellows went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the game. Diaz went 3-for-4, Donnie Webb and Sanchez each had two hits.
Salem cut into the K-Tribe lead when Ryan Dent led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run off of Kinston reliever Brian Grening. Grening would then settle down, retiring the next six batters he faced. Cory Burns would take it from there, pitching a perfect ninth inning for his Carolina League leading 22nd save of the season. Burns now has 34 saves between low and high a this season.
In game two, Kinston started the scoring by manufacturing a run off of Salem starter Miguel Gonzalez. Kyle Bellows started off the second frame with a double. After an Abreu sacrifice bunt, Diaz brought Bellows home with an RBI ground out. Kinston would extend the lead in the third inning. Webb began the frame with a single and then advanced to third base on two wild pitches. Webb then gave Kinston a 2-0 lead, scoring on an RBI ground out by Tice.
The Red Sox got a run back in the bottom of the third inning, when Leonel Escobar and Drew Dominguez banged back-to-back singles off of Kinston starter Marty Popham. After a Dening sacrifice bunt, Oscar Tejeda hit a sacrifice fly to score Escobar.
Kinston’s luck would suddenly change in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two-outs in the frame, a seemingly harmless two hopper to the left side by Ronald Bermudez took a bad bounce off the infield lip and went into left field for a single. Drew Hedman then followed with a single. Back-to-back RBI hits from Escobar and Dominguez then game Salem a 3-2 lead. The lead would expand in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Tejeda and Middlebrooks led off hit back-to-back home runs.
Trailing 5-2, the K-Tribe came back in the top of the sixth inning off of Salem reliever Kyle Fernandes. The frame started with a Tice single. After Chen doubled, Bellows grounded out to drive home Tice. Abreu then cut the Salem lead to one with an RBI double to bring home Chen. After a Diaz single pushed Abreu to third base, Alex Castillo would bring him home with an RBI ground out, tying the score at five.
As the game went into extra innings, Castillo would again play the hero. Bellows began the top of the eighth with a single, his third hit of the game and fifth of the double header. Bellows then advanced to second on a grounder from Diaz. With two outs in the inning, Castillo delivered the game winner with a double ripped down the left field line to score Bellows. Matt Langwell then finished off Salem in the bottom of the eighth for his fourth save of the season. Travis Turek (4-3) picked up the win, delivering two innings of scoreless relief.
The K-Tribe continues their roadtrip with a three game series at Lynchburg starting Friday night at 7:05 pm. T.J. McFarland will get the start for Kinston.