KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Despite entering the top of the ninth trailing by two, the Down East Wood Ducks (5-0) scored three runs to win their fifth game in a row against the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (0-5) Saturday night, 5-4.
The Wood Ducks managed only one hit against Kannapolis starter Bailey Horn. Thanks to the clutch hitting displayed all series long, Down East managed to break through on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh against Cannon Ballers reliever Yoelvin Silven. With one out, Cody Freeman worked a walk and scored on Keyber Rodriguez’s first homerun of the season to give Down East the 2-0 lead in the top of the seventh.
The bullpen has been a sign of strength to start the season for Down East, however Kannapolis managed to break through against Wood Ducks reliever Gavin Collyer and push four runs across the plate to take the 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
The Wood Ducks fought back to take the lead half an inning later. Dustin Harris singled to start the top of the ninth and Cody Freeman followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. After a pitching change, Rodriguez reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second, while Harris and Freeman scored on a throwing error by Kannapolis second baseman Bryan Ramos. Cristian Inoa followed with a ground out, which allowed Rodriguez to advance to third. He then scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly by Antonio Cabello.
The bottom of the ninth had its share of drama. After a leadoff single, Spencer Mraz settled down and managed to close out the game to secure the 5-4 win for Down East.
Nick Krauth took the no-decision but pitched well in his professional debut. He allowed five hits and struck out four in five shutout innings of work, the longest outing for a Down East starter this season. Leury Tejada was the first reliever out of the bullpen allowing three hits, with one walk and three strikeouts in two innings of work. Gavin Collyer pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing three runs (two earned) on one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Mraz (1-0) earned his first win of the season, pitching 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts.
The Wood Ducks and Cannon Ballers conclude their six-game series tomorrow with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m. Down East has not announced a starter for tomorrow but Kannapolis will start RH Andrew Dalquist.
Fans can still purchase tickets for the month of May on woodducksbaseball.com, by calling the Wood Ducks Team Offices at (252) 686-5172 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!