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Winston-Salem Dash season kicks off in front of nearly 6,000 fans

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Playing in front of 5,917 fans at BB&T Ballpark, the Dash’s late-game comeback fell just short in their 2016 home opener in a 6-5 loss to the Salem Red Sox on Thursday.

With the game tied 2-2 through five innings, Salem (4-4) pushed across four runs against right-hander Danny Dopico (0-2) in the sixth. David Sopilka put the Sox ahead for good with an RBI single. Yoan Moncada followed with a two-run triple to make it 5-2. Mauricio Dubon capped the four-run frame with a sacrifice fly, which ultimately ended up being the deciding run.

The Dash (3-5) were not quite done, though. With one out in the eighth inning, Winston-Salem strung together four straight hits from Brett Austin, Mason Robbins, Toby Thomas and Cleuluis Rondon to cut the deficit to two. The final run-scoring play of the night was a sacrifice fly from Hunter Jones to make it 6-5, but that would be the last time Winston-Salem put the ball in play. Following a pitching change, left-handed reliever Jake Drehoff struck out four straight Dash batters en route his first career save at the professional level.

For only the second time this season, the Dash did not score first. Winston-Salem’s starting pitcher Thad Lowry kept the Red Sox in check through the first three frames, but the Red Sox put together a two-out rally in the fourth. After Danny Mars singled and stole second base, Bryan Hudson knocked him in with an RBI single. Sopilka followed that up with an RBI double to make it 2-0.

The Dash chipped away at that lead in each of their next two offensive frames. Marcus Davis continued his clutch hitting with an RBI double in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to one. In the next frame, Nick Basto brought home Jones on an infield single, plating his team-leading seventh run.
Winston-Salem got some solid relief outings from right-handed pitchers Euclides Leyer and Kelvis Valerio. In three innings combined, the two managed the Sox in order.

Winston-Salem has now dropped four straight home openers dating back to 2012. Those four contests have been decided by just six runs.
The Dash continue their first homestand of the season Friday night against the Salem Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the Pregame Dash starting up at 6:45 p.m.

The first postgame fireworks show of the season takes place Friday, while a boatload of promotions will take place Saturday. A full breakdown of the fun for Opening Weekend is available here. Tickets are still available by calling (336) 714-2287 or visiting wsdash.com.