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April 28, 2011 at 7:03 AM

Wilkerson leads charge as Salem runs away with win

4/28 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket saw their early season ace smacked around, while Portland and Greenville used solid offensive outputs to roll to victory. Salem put on a hitting display in game one of a doubleheader, but failed to score in a game two loss.

Brandon Duckworth’s near flawless start to 2011 came to a screeching halt, as Pawtucket was dropped 8-2 by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). Duckworth picked up his first loss of the year, tossing only 3.2 innings, allowing 8 runs (7 earned) on 6 hits and 5 walks. Matt Fox relieved Duckworth, and hurled 3.0 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Jason Rice finished the final 1.1 innings, allowing 1 hit and punching out 1. Down 3-0 in the fourth, Josh Reddick led off the inning with a solo home run, his sixth of the season. The IronPigs would retaliate in the bottom half of the inning, plating five to open up an 8-1 lead. Pawtucket mustered their only other run of the game in the sixth, receiving a two out RBI single from Hector Luna. Luna was 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI to lead the Pawtucket offense.

In a game that was called early due to fog, Portland left the Binghamton Mets (NYM) in a haze, claiming a 9-6 victory. Sea Dogs starter Brock Huntzinger picked up his second straight victory by completing 5.0 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs on 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking none. Jeremy Kehrt tossed 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. After Binghamton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Portland picked up three runs on a Chih-Hsien Chiang RBI double and a fielding error by the Mets shortstop. The Sea Dogs broke the game wide open the very next inning, bringing home six on RBI singles by Chiang, Alex Hassan and Tim Federowicz, as well as an RBI double by Che-Hsuan Lin and a Jonathan Hee bases loaded walk. The game was called after 6.5 innings due to thick fog that blanketed Hadlock Field, the first time in team history that a game was cancelled or shortened due to fog.

Eager to get on the field after being washed away a day before, Salem annihilated the Kinston Indians (CLE) 16-6 in game one of a doubleheader. Drake Britton took the hill for the Red Sox, lasting just 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks, punching out 2. Mitch Herold picked up his first win of 2011, finishing the final 3.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 4. Salem got on the board quickly in the first, grabbing two runs on a Kolbrin Vitek RBI triple and a Reynaldo Rodriguez sacrifice fly. The Red Sox really put the game away in the second, bringing home ten runs on RBI singles by Derrik Gibson, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Vitek; RBI doubles by Peter Hissey and Dan Butler, a throwing error and a pinch hit two run home run by Shannon Wilkerson. The power display continued with a Rodriguez two run shot in the third, a Hazelbaker solo blast in the fourth, and Wilkerson’s second home run of the game in the sixth. The Red Sox pounded out 17 hits in just seven innings as every member of the lineup reached base at least twice.

Game two was a much different story, as Salem was held to just four hits and shut out 6-0 by the Indians. Tom Ebert took the mound for the Red Sox and went 4.0 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 4 to pick up his second loss of the season. Kendal Volz contributed 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 3. Salem’s best scoring chance came in the first inning, as Wilkerson and Vitek pulled off a double steal, but were left stranded in scoring position.

Trying to bounce back after an 11-0 thrashing the day before, Greenville squashed the Greensboro Grasshoppers (FLA) 7-4. Miguel Celestino picked up the victory for his 5.0 innings of work in which he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2. Juan Rodriguez added 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just a walk to go along with his 3 punch outs. Tyler Lockwood finished off the game for the Drive, going 2.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while picking up a strike out. Down 1-0 in the first, Lucas LeBlanc scampered home on a wild pitch to even the score 1-1. The Drive found themselves down 2-1 in the third, but once again tied the game as Miles Head laced his fifth home run of the season. Greenville showed its muscle in the fifth, getting a pair of two run home runs from Bryce Brentz and Sean Coyle which gave the Drive a 6-2 advantage. A Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly added an important insurance run in the sixth, as Greensboro’s ninth inning rally ended up falling short.

Player of the Night: Shannon Wilkerson, who went 2 for 3 with 2 home runs, 2 runs scored, a walk and 4 RBI in Salem’s 16-6 game one victory over Kinston.