KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The Down East Wood Ducks continued their winning ways on the road with a 14-3 win over the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Thursday night.
Daniel Mateo and Thomas Saggese led the way for the Wood Ducks, combining for nine hits in 11 at-bats with four RBI.
Down East (54-38) jumped out ahead in the top of the first with a run against Kannapolis starter Matt Thompson (L, 1-7). Jayce Easley led off with a double and scored on a single by Mateo for the 1-0 lead.
Kannapolis (26-67) tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second against Down East starter Nick Lockhart (W, 1-0).
The Wood Ducks regained the lead in the top of the third. Mateo singled, stole second (8), and advanced to third on a dropped third strike. Cristian Inoa walked and Mateo scored on a passed ball to put Down East ahead 2-1.
The Cannon Ballers tied the game back at two as Lockhart surrendered a solo home run to the first batter of the bottom of the third.
Down East started to pull away in the top of the fourth. Saggese started the inning with a single and advanced to second as Alejandro Osuna walked. With two runners on, Jose Acosta dropped a bunt down and reached on an infield single to load the bases. After a strikeout, Easley hit a sac fly to plate Saggese to break the tie and put the Woodies ahead, 3-2 and Osuna advanced to third. With runners at the corners, Mateo singled to score Osuna for the 4-2 lead.
Kannapolis didn’t quit, as they plated a run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 4-3.
The Wood Ducks added three more runs in the top of the sixth. Osuna singled, stole second (15), and then scored on a double by Acosta to increase the lead to 5-3. With a runner on second, Keithron Moss and Easley were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Following a mound visit, Mateo hit a sac fly that scored Acosta to give the Woodies a 6-3 lead. Moss and Easley advanced to second and third on the sac fly. In the ensuing at-bat, a passed ball scored Moss to put Down East ahead 7-3.
Down East continued to add pressure in the top of the seventh. Xavier Valentin walked, stole second (9), and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Osuna walked and stole second, but Valentin was thrown out trying to steal home on Osuna’s attempted steal. With two outs, Osuna swiped third (16) and scored on a throwing error by Kannapolis catcher Richard Garcia to give the Wood Ducks an 8-3 lead.
The game was blown wide open in the top of the eighth. With one out Easley walked and advanced to third on a single by Mateo. Keyber Rodriguez singled home Easley for the 9-3 lead and Mateo went to second. Inoa reached on a fielding error to load the bases and Valentin singled to score Mateo and Rodriguez for an 11-3 lead. Following a mound visit, Saggese reached on an infield single to load the bases and Osuna reached on a fielding error and Inoa scored to make the score 12-3.
Two more runs were added on the board for Down East in the top of the ninth. With one out Mateo singled for his fifth hit of the game. Rodriguez walked to put runners on first and second. Inoa followed with a single to load the bases and Valentin singled to score Mateo for the 13-3 lead. Saggese contributed another single that scored Rodriguez to make the score 14-3.
Lockhart (W, 1-0) took the win, pitching a season-high five innings while allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Michael Brewer pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two hits and two strikeouts. Destin Dotson followed with 1 1/3 perfect innings and Mason Cole wrapped up the game with one scoreless inning, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
The series between the Wood Ducks and Cannon Ballers continues tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. RHP Mason Englert (5-3, 4.34) toes the rubber for Down East but Kannapolis hasn’t announced a starter for tomorrow.
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 – 9 am – 4 pm). Make sure to follow your Down East Wood Ducks on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook so you don’t miss anything!