Four-run fifth pushes Down East past Charleston, 6-5

Down East Wood Ducks

Wood Ducks vs. Charleston (Down East Wood Ducks and Charleston RiverDogs photos; Jason O. Boyd, WNCT illustration)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — After a four-run top of the fifth, the Down East Wood Ducks (10-4) evened the series against the Charleston RiverDogs (8-6) with a 6-5 win Wednesday night.

The Wood Ducks put themselves back in the win column after losing four of their last five games entering Wednesday.

For the second time this series, the Wood Ducks lit up the scoreboard first as they pushed one run across the plate in the top of the first against Charleston starter Taj. Bradley. Evan Carter doubled to start the inning and came around to score on a double by Dustin Harris for the 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t hold as Charleston took the 3-1 lead, pushing two runs across in the bottom of the first and adding one in the bottom of the second.

Down East cut into the lead scoring one run in the top of the third. With one out, Carter walked and advanced to second on a ground out by Harris. With a runner on second and two outs, Keyber Rodriguez knocked a single, his fourth consecutive game with a hit, to score Carter from second to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The top of the fifth was the busiest inning for the Wood Ducks in over a week as they put up four runs, tying their second-largest inning of the season. Randy Florentino and Jayce Easley worked back-to-back walks to start the inning. Carter flied out to center, but Florentino advanced to third, tagging up from second. With runners at the corners, Harris hit a groundball to RiverDogs first baseman Jonathan Embry.

Embry’s throw to second was wild and went to the outfield, allowing Florentino to score the tying run, Easley was safe at second, and Harris reached on the fielder’s choice. Rodriguez followed with a single, his second hit of the game to score Easley and give the Woodies the 4-3 lead. With runners at the corners again, Rodriguez stole second to put runners on second and third as Cristian Inoa grounded out but Harris scored for the 5-3 lead. Rodriguez advanced to third on the groundout and scored on a passed ball as the Wood Ducks finished the top of the fifth leading 6-3.

The RiverDogs added a run in the sixth and one in the eighth, but the Down East Wood Ducks pitching got out of trouble to preserve the lead 6-5 and that is where the scoring stopped.

Wyatt Sparks got the start, but took the no-decision as he pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (1 earned) on five hits with two strikeouts. John Matthews (1-0) earned the win as he entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and pitched 1 2/3 innings allowing one run on one hit with one walk. Josh Smith followed with one unearned run on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of work. Joe Corbett was the final reliever used by the Woodies and he pitched the final 1 1/3 innings issuing one walk and striking out two en route to his first save of the season.

The series between the Down East Wood Ducks and the Charleston RiverDogs continues Thursday, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Woodies have not announced a starter, while the RiverDogs will start RH Graeme Stinson (0-0, 6.35)

Fans can still purchase tickets for the month of May 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 -5pm). Make sure to follow your Down East Wood Ducks on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you don’t miss anything!

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