KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Thanks to some solid pitching, and clutch hitting the Down East Wood Ducks defeated the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 6-1, Thursday night. The Wood Ducks improve to 3-0 early in the 2021 campaign and sit atop the Low-A East Central division.
For the third game in a row, the Wood Ducks scored the first run of the game against Kannapolis starter Chase Solesky. After two quick outs to start the top of the first, Dustin Harris worked a walk and stole second. Cody Freeman followed with a single to center, his first hit of the season, to score Harris and give the Wood Ducks a 1-0 lead.
After three shutout innings, the Cannon Ballers broke through against Wood Ducks starter Dane Acker. Chase Krogman was hit by a pitch to start the inning and immediately scored the tying run following a triple by DJ Gladney.
Once again, the bats for Down East came alive late in the seventh inning. Antonio Cabello worked a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a one-out ground rule double by Jayce Easley. Evan Carter walked to load the bases and Luisangel Acuña cleared the bases with a three-run triple to give the Wood Ducks a 4-1 lead.
The Wood Ducks continued to pad their lead late in the eighth inning. Cody Freeman worked a leadoff walk and scored on a double by Keyber Rodriguez, who entered the game for an injured Marcus Smith in the sixth inning.
The bats kept swinging for Down East as they continued to build their lead in the ninth. Evan Carter led off the ninth with a double and scored on a single by Harris for the 6-1 lead.
Although he took the no-decision, Dane Acker pitched very well in his professional debut. He allowed only one run on three hits with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of work. Nic Laio (1-0) earned the win, allowing only one hit and one walk with a team-high eight strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings of work. Joshua Javier pitched the final two innings, issued four walks but recorded five strikeouts. Although he walked the bases loaded in the ninth, he struck out José Rodriguez to secure the 6-1 win for the Wood Ducks.
The Wood Ducks continue their six-game series with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers Friday, May 7th with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Down East will send RH Tekoah Roby to the mound while RH Matt Thompson will toe the rubber for Kannapolis.