KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The Down East Wood Ducks (6-0) scored nine runs leading to a 9-2 victory over the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (0-6), Sunday afternoon. With this win, the Wood Ducks complete their first series sweep of the season and their first as a member of the new Low-A East division.
Kannapolis took the early 1-0 lead against Wood Ducks starter Mason Englert in the bottom of the first. However, Down East answered quickly in the top of the second, knocking out Cannon Ballers starter Andrew Dalquist. With two outs, Randy Florentino drew a walk and advanced to third on a double by Jose Rodriguez. Jayce Easley worked a walk to load the bases and Evan Carter singled with a pop up in the infield that was lost in the sun, which allowed Florentino to score the tying run from third.
The Wood Ducks took their first lead of the game in the top of the third. Dustin Harris and Cristian Inoa started the inning with back-to-back singles. Keyber Rodriguez continued his hot hitting from Saturday night, singling to center to score Harris from second, while Inoa went first to third. With runners on the corners, Antonio Cabello hit a sac fly to score Inoa to increase the lead to 3-1. Randy Florentino walked in the ensuing at-bat to put runners on first and second. Down East continued to add to their lead with their third run of the inning as Keyber Rodriguez scored from second on a single by José Rodriguez to push the Down East lead to 4-1.
The scoreboard continued to tilt in the favor of the Wood Ducks in the fourth. Carter started the inning with a double and Luisangel Acuña followed with a walk to put runners on first and second. After a pitching change, Harris knocked his second hit of the day, a single, to score Carter from second to push the Down East lead to 5-1. With runners at the corners, Inoa was hit by a pitch to load the bases and K. Rodriguez worked a walk to increase the lead to 6-1. Cabello followed by knocking in his second RBI of the game with another sac fly to score Harris for the 7-1 lead.
Kannapolis pitchers could not find an answer to the Down East bats as the Wood Ducks pushed another run across the plate in the top of the fifth. Easley singled to start the inning and Carter worked a walk to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third, with one out, Harris hit a sac fly to score Easley to make the score 8-1. Carter tried to score but was thrown out at home for the 8-6-2 double play to end the inning.
Down East’s pitching and hitting were working in perfect harmony, shutting down the Cannon Baller lineup and crushing their pitching. José Rodriguez singled and with one out Carter singled to put runners on first and second. Xavier Valentin, who entered as a pinch hitter for Acuña singled to load the bases. Harris hit a sac fly with the bases loaded to score Rodriguez from third to make the score 9-1 and gave the Wood Ducks their largest lead of the season, eight runs. Kannapolis added one run in the bottom of the eighth to cut into the deficit, 9-2.
Mason Englert took the no-decision in this first professional start, pitching three innings, allowing one run on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. Nick Starr (2-0) pitched one perfect inning, while tallying three strikeouts, earning his second win of the season. Joshua Javier followed Starr with one perfect inning and one strikeout. Tyree Thompson, who was called up from Arizona on Saturday, made his first appearance with the Wood Ducks this season. In 1 2/3 innings, Thompson allowed only two hits, two walks and struck out two batters. Josh Smith pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits, with two strikeouts.
With the first scheduled off day for all of minor league baseball, Monday, the Wood Ducks return home to start a six-game homestand with the Carolina Mudcats on Tuesday, May 11th. Tuesday’s game will be the first game at Grainger Stadium for the Woodies since September 8th, 2019 (612 Days)!
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!