KINSTON, N.C. – Thanks to a four-error eighth inning, the Down East Wood Ducks defeated the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 8-2, Sunday afternoon.
Owen White finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts to earn the Suddenlink Player of the Game.
Down East (64-44) struck first in the bottom of the first, sending nine batters to the plate. Jayce Easley led off with a single and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Kannapolis starter Matt Thompson (L, ). Aaron Zavala plated Easley on a double for the 1-0 lead.
With Zavala at second, Luisangel Acuña doubled home Zavala to give the Wood Ducks a 2-0 lead. Keyber Rodriguez followed with a soft groundball to second, but Shawn Goosenberg committed a throwing error, which allowed Acuña to score for the 3-0 lead.
Kannapolis (32-76) plated two runs against Down East reliever Mason Cole in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-2.
The Wood Ducks broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth. Rodriguez led off with a triple. Cristian Inoa followed with a walk. With runners at the corners, Yenci Peña hit a fly ball that was dropped by Kannapolis center fielder James Beard. Rodriguez scored on the dropped fly ball, Inoa went to third and Peña advanced to second.
In the ensuing at-bat, Jose Acosta worked a walk to load the bases. Xavier Valentin hit a sac fly to score Inoa from third. The throw from left fielder Chase Krogman went past the catcher, which allowed Inoa to score for the 6-2 lead. Once the ball went past the catcher, Peña advanced to third and Acosta advanced to second.
The Cannon Ballers attempted to throw out Acosta at second but the ball went to center field, allowing Peña to score for the 7-2 lead. Acosta advanced to third and scored on the errant throw to third by James Beard for the 8-2 lead.
White (W, 1-1) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a career-high 12 strikeouts en route to his first win of the season. Destin Dotson contributed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Cole lasted 2/3 of an inning, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit with one walk. Eudrys Mañon (S, 4) pitched the final 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts en route to his fourth save of the season.
With an off-day Monday, the Wood Ducks hit the road for six games against the Carolina Mudcats, starting Tuesday.
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!