ZEBULON, N.C. – With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Down East Wood Ducks stranded the bases loaded and fell to the Carolina Mudcats, 8-6 Wednesday night.
Cristian Inoa tallied two hits in four at-bats and drove in three RBI to earn the Suddenlink Player of the Game.
Down East (65-45) struck first in the top of the first against Carolina RHP Jeferson Figueroa. With one out, Aaron Zavala walked and stole second (4). Luisangel Acuña reached on an error that allowed Zavala to advance to third. With runners at the corners, Inoa singled to score Zavala and the Wood Ducks took the 1-0 lead.
Carolina (64-46) responded with two runs in the bottom of the first and one run in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead.
The Wood Ducks regained their lead in the top of the third. Jayce Easley singled to lead off the inning and stole second (69). Zavala followed Easley with a single, the throw home to cut off Easley allowed Zavala to go to second. With runners at second and third, Acuña hit a sac fly to score Easley to cut the deficit to 3-2 and Zavala advanced to third. After a pop out, Cody Freeman blasted a two-run home run (6) to put the Woodies in front 4-3.
The Mudcats went right back to work, plating two runs in the bottom of the third and adding one more in the bottom of the fifth to give them the lead, 6-4.
Down East managed to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Alejandro Osuna worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a groundout by Zavala. Acuña singled and Osuna advanced to third to put runners at the corners. Inoa drove in Osuna and Acuña on a double to tie the game at six.
Carolina took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, plating two runs to take an 8-6 lead.
The Wood Ducks fought back in the top of the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs. Freeman worked the count but ultimately lined out to the second baseman, ending the game.
Josh Stephan pitched three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Nick Lockhart pitched two innings, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Leury Tejada tossed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Connor Sechler (L, 3-2) struggled as he allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and one strikeout in one inning of work.
The Wood Ducks and Mudcats continue their series Thursday with the first pitch set for 7 p.m. RHP John Matthews (4-4, 6.55) will take the hill for Down East and Carolina will hand the ball to RHP Jhoan Cruz (6-5, 6.21).
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!