Despite 2 1/2 hours of early batting practice, the Alexandria Dukes lost to the Virginia Division leading Salem Redbirds tonight, 6-1, in a Carolina League game at Four Mile Run Park.

Alexandria stranded 11 runners, pushing their two-day total to 21. Only Brian Dayett's sixth-inning home run, his third, averted a second consecutive shutout.

"The guys just aren't being aggressive at the plate," Dukes Manager Mike Toomey said. "I don't think we'll hit early (next game); sometimes it's better to just take a break."

Salem jumped on Dukes' starter Jack Hobbs (6-7), whose father drove from Cherry Hill, N.J., to see him pitch, for seven hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

John Schaive hit a home run in his first Carolina League at-bat, giving the Redbirds a 1-0 edge in the second. Tony Incaviglia smacked a two-run double in the third and scored on a Hobbs' wild pitch, for a 3-0 Salem lead.

Salem added runs in the sixth and seventh.

The Dukes had chances in the sixth and eighth innings, but their bats betrayed them. In the eighth, they had men on second and third with one out, but Ted Jackson struck out and Jerry Neufang lined to right.