The Salem Buccaneers had better hope last night's developments at Prince William County Stadium do not portend trouble for the remainder of their season.
After sweeping the Cannons four straight to open the first half of the Carolina League season in April, the Buccaneers plummeted to the Northern Division basement. Salem took another fast start to launch the league's second half, upending the Cannons, 3-2, last night before 2,016.
The Buccaneers scored the go-ahead run in the fifth. Leadoff batter Mike Huyler singled and advanced on a single, a fielder's choice and an error by third baseman Russ Davis, who misplayed a seemingly routine ground ball.
The Buccaneers jumped on starter Gerald Nielsen (4-5) for two runs in the first. Consecutive singles by Greg Sims and Bruce Schreiber were followed by Nielsen's wild pitch, scoring Sims. One out later Mike Brewington drove in his 11th run in 15 games with Salem, doubling down the third-base line to score Schreiber for a 2-0 edge.
Nielsen settled down to face the minimum number of batters the next three innings. His teammates then took advantage of Paul Miller (4-2) in the fourth. After Sherman Obando doubled to left, Keke Hernandez (30 RBI) doubled him home before getting thrown out trying at third. Dave Howell continued his torrid hitting against Salem this year (.457), tying the game with his second home run of the season, a shot deep over the right field wall.
Nielsen pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and striking out five. Miller struck out a season-best eight in going the distance.