Marvin Clack had two hits, including his first home run of the season, and Art Ray retired the eight batters he faced in his first relief appearance of the year as the Alexandria Dukes defeated the Salem Redbirds, 4-2, last night at Four Mile Run Park. Earlier, the Dukes defeated Salem, 10-3, in the completion of Wednesday's suspended game.
The victories gave the Dukes a 45-20 record for the first half of the season. The second half will begin tonight when Alexandria hosts Winston-Salem at 7:35.
Clack, who had one home run last season at Greenwood (Class A South Atlantic League), hit a two-run homer over the 385-foot sign in left center to give the Dukes a 2-1 lead in the third. Salem's Mark Gillaspie hit his Carolina League-leading 21st home run in the second.
"I hit a straight change(up)," said Clack. "Heck, I look to hit the ball out from the right side every time up."
Salem tied the score in the sixth on an RBI single by Scott Thompson. Alexandria made it 3-2 in its half when Joe Orsulak beat out an infield hit and went to third as Salem pitcher Paul Huyck threw the ball into right field. Huyck's next delivery was a wild pitch, and Orsulak scored. Rick Renteria's run-scoring single made it 4-2 in the seventh.
Ray relieved Larry Lamonde (5-1) in the seventh after Lamonde walked Joe Wood with one out. Ray struck out Tim Cannon and got Steve Garcia on a grounder to short to end the inning.
"Art should make a good short reliever because he is a power pitcher and can come in and just air it out for two or three innings," said pitching coach Dan Warthen. "The only question is can he do it four or five times a week? We think he can."