FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — After jumping out to an early four-run lead, the Down East Wood Ducks allowed 12 unanswered runs and ultimately fell to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, 14-8. This marks the ninth time that the Wood Ducks’ pitching staff has surrendered a lead and lost.
Down East (32-27) lit up the scoreboard in the top of the second against Fayetteville starter Peyton Plumlee. Cody Freeman started the inning with a solo homerun (3) for the 1-0 lead. With one out, Keyber Rodriguez and Alejandro Osuna singled to put runners on first and second. Following a mound visit, Angel Aponte singled to score Rodriguez to put the Wood Ducks ahead 2-0. With runners at the corners, Aponte stole second (2) to put runners at second and third. Jayce Easley plated both runners with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to double the lead to 4-0.
Despite a four-run cushion, Mason Englert (L, 4-3) worked himself into trouble, as he allowed eight unanswered runs and was removed in the fourth, trailing 8-4. Nick Lockhart entered and surrendered two, two-run home runs as Down East dug themselves into a deeper hole, 12-4.
The Wood Ducks managed to put two runs on the board in the top of the fifth, chasing Fayetteville reliever Whit Drennan from the game. With one out, Easley and Luisangel Acuña walked. Dustin Harris flew out but Easley advanced to third and Freeman walked to load the bases. Thomas Saggese singled to drive in Easley and Acuña to cut the deficit to 12-6.
One more run crossed the plate for Down East in the top of the sixth. With one out, Aponte hit an inside-the-park home run (1) to make the score 12-7.
Fayetteville pushed two more runs across the plate in the bottom of the sixth to take a 14-7 lead.
The Wood Ducks got one run back in the top of the ninth. Acuña walked and stole second to start the inning, then scored on a ground-rule double by Harris to make the score 14-8. Down East was able to load the bases with two outs, but a pop out ended the game.
Easley finished two-for-four with two RBIs to earn the Suddenlink Player of the Game.
Englert (4-3) took the loss as he pitched three innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Lockhart pitched two innings, allowing six runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks, two strikeouts, and he surrendered two home runs. Teodoro Ortega pitched the final three innings, allowing three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
With an off day scheduled for Monday, the Wood Ducks return to Historic Grainger Stadium on Tuesday to begin a six-game series with the Delmarva Shorebirds. The starters for that series have not been announced.
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 – 9am – 4pm).