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Friday, July 12, 2013
MOUND MOMENTUM: Salem's pitching rotation looks a lot better today than it did heading into Thursday's doubleheader against Myrtle Beach.
Struggling starters Henry Owens and Mickey Pena both had strong bounceback performances as the Sox split the twinbill, dropping the first game 3-2 in eight innings before claiming the nightcap 3-1 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
GAME 1 SKINNY: A battle of two of the Carolina League's top pitchers lived up to its potential, but neither Owens nor Myrtle Beach's Luke Jackson factored in the decision.
Trever Adams tripled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the eighth inning - just Myrtle Beach's fourth hit of the game - and the Pelicans held on in the bottom half when Salem squandered a two-on, one-out chance.
GAME 2 SKINNY: Pena fired a complete-game three-hitter, and first baseman Matt Gedman drove in all three Salem runs as the Sox (11-10) moved back over .500 with a crisp victory.
CLEAR EYES, STILL HEADS: Despite the loss in the early game, Salem got an encouraging performance from Owens. The left-handed ace had walked 10 batters over seven innings in losing his previous two starts.
"I was too herky-jerky with my head and arm," Owens said. "So I went to a side session, kept my head still in dry drills and took it into the game."
Owens lasted 6 2⁄3 innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out four. He wasn't pleased with walking four, though, including two in the seventh.
"I've still got work to do," he said.
PENA POWER: Like Owens, Pena had dropped his previous two starts. Unlike Owens, though, he hadn't struggled with walks; Myrtle Beach and Carolina touched up the southpaw for 17 hits and 13 runs over those two outings.
This time, Pena was in command, carrying a no-hitter into the fourth inning. Other than an RBI groundout in the fifth, the Pelicans never threatened.
LOOSE ENDS: Gedman went 2 for 3 with an RBI double and a two-run single in the nightcap. ... Stefan Welch extended his hitting streak to eight games by going a combined 3 for 6 with a walk and two RBIs. ... Jackson, the Carolina League's ERA leader, allowed two runs over six innings in the first game. ...The last two innings of the night were played in a steady rain, but neither game was delayed.
ON DECK: The Sox welcome Potomac for the opener of a four-game series at 7:05 tonight, with Kyle Stroup (4-7, 5.06) going for Salem.
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