Wood Ducks, Mudcats split doubleheader

Down East Wood Ducks

(Down East Wood Ducks and Carolina Mudcasts logos; Jason O. Boyd illustration)

ZEBULON, N.C. – After back-to-back rainouts on Wednesday and Thursday, the Down East Wood Ducks were back in action against the Carolina Mudcats Friday and split a doubleheader, falling in the first game, 6-5, before salvaging the second game, 5-1. The Wood Ducks and Mudcats are once again tied for first in the Low-A East Central division.

The Carolina Mudcats (17-10) opened the scoring in the first game of the doubleheader with three runs in the bottom of the second. They added one more insurance in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead.

Down East (17-10) answered back in the top of the sixth against Mudcats reliever Brandon Knarr. With one out, Dustin Harris singled and with two outs Cristian Inoa walked to put runners on first and second. Following a mound visit, Luisangel Acuña blasted a three-run homerun (3) to pull the Wood Ducks to within one, 4-3.

Momentum continued to fall on the side of the Wood Ducks on the road, as they took the lead in the top of the seventh. With one out, Randy Florentino struck out, but reached first on the wild pitch. Jayce Easley reached first on a throwing error and Obie Ricumstrict, who came in to run for Florentino advanced to third. With runners at the corners, Easley advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt which allowed Ricumstrict to score the tying run. With a runner at second, Evan Carter singled and Easley scored the go-ahead run, 5-4.

The Mudcats quickly turned the game upside down as Joe Gray homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at five. With runners on first and second and with one out, Ashton McGee doubled in the winning run to give Carolina the 6-5 win in game one.

Wyatt Sparks took the no-decision, pitching two innings, allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Gavin Collyer was first out of the bullpen and allowed one run on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts in two innings of work. Nick Lockhart pitched two shutout innings and struck out one batter. Joe Corbett (L, 1-1) blew his first save of the season and allowed two runs on three hits with one walk in 1/3 of an inning.

In game two, the Wood Ducks struck first in the top of the second against Carolina starter Jhoan Cruz (L, 2-2). Acuña and Keyber Rodriguez started with back-to-back singles but a fielding error allowed both to advance. With runners on second and third, Xavier Valentin launched a three-run homerun to put Down East ahead 3-0.

Carolina got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Down East added insurance in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Harris doubled and scored on a double by Cody Freeman to push the Wood Ducks lead to 4-1. Cristian Inoa singled and Freeman scored from second for the 5-1 lead in game two.

Tekoah Roby (1-2) earned his first win of the season, pitching five innings, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Josh Smith was first out of the bullpen. He allowed just one hit, issued one walk and struck out two. Leury Tejada pitched the final inning, allowing just two hits as he secured the win in the bottom of the seventh.

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). Make sure to follow your Down East Wood Ducks on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you don’t miss anything!

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