Wood Ducks soar past Carolina in series finale

Down East Wood Ducks

Cody Freeman (Down East Wood Ducks photos; Jason O. Boyd, WNCT illustration)

ZEBULON, N.C. – The Down East Wood Ducks smashed four home runs en route to their largest offensive output of 2021 with a 15-7 win against the Carolina Mudcats, Sunday afternoon.

This win puts the Wood Ducks in a tie for first in the Central division with the Mudcats.

Down East (18-11) opened the scoring in the top of the third against Carolina starter Brendan Murphy (L, 2-1). With one out, Evan Carter and Luisangel Acuña walked to put runners on first and second. A double-steal was attempted but Carter was thrown out at third. Dustin Harris followed with a walk and Acuña stole third to put runners at the corners. Cody Freeman doubled to score both Acuña and Harris as the Wood Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Christian Inoa (Down East Wood Ducks photos; Jason O. Boyd, WNCT illustration)

Carolina (18-11) answered right away, scoring two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the third.

The Wood Ducks’ bats exploded in the top of the fifth, tying their highest scoring total in a single inning with six runs as they knocked Murphy out of the game. Jayce Easley started the inning with a single and Carter walked to put runners on first and second. Acuña singled to center, which allowed Easley to score to put Down East ahead 3-2.

Keithron Moss (Down East Wood Ducks photos; Jason O. Boyd, WNCT illustration)

Both Carter and Acuña advanced on a throwing error by Carolina left fielder Andre Nnebe. With runners on second and third, Harris singled to score Carter and Acuña advanced to third. Freeman doubled in the ensuing at-bat with runners at the corners to score Acuña to increase the Wood Ducks lead to 5-2. After a pop out, Keithron Moss singled to score Harris and Freeman, which put the Woodies up 7-2.

Moss advanced to third on a throwing error by Mudcats right fielder, Joe Gray Jr. With one out, Cristian Inoa grounded out to the first baseman, which allowed Moss to score from third to give the Wood Ducks a 8-2 lead. The Mudcats put one run on the board in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 8-3.

The bats for Down East stayed wide awake in the top of the sixth as they added one insurance run to build their lead to seven. With one out, Carter hit a homerun (2) off the scoreboard in right/center field to push the Woodies lead to 9-3.

The Wood Ducks continued to mash Carolina pitching, adding two more runs in the top of the seventh. Freeman led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error charged to Mudcats catcher Alex Hall. With one out, Moss blasted a two-run homerun to left field to give Down East their largest lead of the season, 11-3.

Carolina managed to put three runs on the board to close the deficit to 11-6, but Down East continued their onslaught with four runs in the top of the ninth. Freeman led off with a single and stole second during the at-bat of Thomas Saggese. Saggese singled and Freeman went to third to put runners on the corners. Saggese stole second and Moss grounded out with runners on second and third. Inoa blasted a three-run homerun to push the lead to 14-6 and Obie Ricumstrict followed with a solo homerun, his first of the season, to give the Woodies a 15-6 lead.

Carolina had a little rally in the bottom of the ninth, but only pushed one run across and still trailed 15-7.

Tyree Thompson took the no-decision in his first start of the season. He pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits with four walks and one strikeout. Nic Laio (3-1) earned the win, pitching 3 2/3 innings with one run allowed on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Joshua Javier allowed three unearned runs on one hit with five walks and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of work. Leury Tejada pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit, while issuing one walk and striking out two.

With an off day tomorrow, Down East continues their 12-game road trip with six against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers starting Tuesday.

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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