FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – After leading 5-0 after the first two innings, the Down East Wood Ducks cut short a ninth-inning rally by the Fayetteville Woodpeckers and pulled out a 6-3 win, Saturday night.
Luisangel Acuña led the way for the Wood Ducks, going 3-for-5 with four RBI to earn the Suddenlink Player of the game.
The Wood Ducks (21-13) got off to a hot start against the Woodpeckers (14-20) as they knocked around Fayetteville starter Luis Vega. Keyber Rodriguez and Acuña hit back-to-back singles with one out. With runners at the corners, Acuña stole second and both runners scored on a single from Cristian Inoa as Down East jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Three more runs crossed the plate for the Woodies in the top of the second, forcing an early exit for Vega. Thomas Saggese led off the inning with a walk and with one out and advanced to second on a balk. Antonio Cabello and Evan Carter worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. Carter was picked off and Rodriguez walked to re-load the bases. Acuña missed a grand slam by inches as he ended up with a bases clearing double that hit the top of the left field wall to give Down East a 5-0 lead.
Fayetteville got one back in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 5-1. The Woodpeckers did threaten with two on but Nick Krauth managed to get out of the jam with only one run allowed.
The Wood Ducks added one run in the top of the fourth. With one out, Carter and Rodriguez walked to put runners on first and second. Carter then scored on a single by Acuña, his third hit of the game, to push the lead for the Woodies to five, 6-1.
Fayetteville did not quit as they mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Bryan Arias hit his second homerun of the series, this time a two-run homerun to cut the deficit to 6-3, but Marc Church (S, 1) came back with a strikeout and a groundout with runners on second and third to end the game and preserve the win.
Krauth took the no-decision, pitching three innings with one run allowed on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Tyree Thompson (W, 1-0) earned his first win of the season after pitching four scoreless innings with one hit allowed, two walks issued and three strikeouts. Joshua Javier pitched one scoreless inning, issuing two walks and striking out three. Church earned his first save of the season, after allowing two runs on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts in one inning of work.
The series concludes tomorrow with first pitch at 1:00 p.m. from Segra Stadium. Down East will turn to RHP Mason Englert (1-1, 4.60) but Fayetteville has not announced a starter for tomorrow’s contest.
Fans can purchase tickets on woodducksbaseball.com, by calling the Wood Ducks Team Offices at (252) 686-5164 or in the Wood Ducks Team Offices located at Grainger Stadium (Mon-Fri – 9am – 4pm). Make sure to follow your Down East Wood Ducks on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you don’t miss anything!