Wood Ducks split doubleheader thanks to late rally

Down East Wood Ducks

(Photos from Down East Wood Ducks and Fayetteville Woodpeckers; Illustration by Jason O. Boyd, WNCT)

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Thanks to some timely hitting, the Down East Wood Ducks split the doubleheader with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, losing 5-3 in game one but winning 11-9 in game two.

The Wood Ducks remain 0.5 games behind Carolina for first place in the Low-A East Central division.

Fayetteville (24-33) opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, with two runs against Down East starter Orceli Gomez (L, 0-2).

Joshua Javier entered the game in the bottom of the fourth but the Woodpeckers managed to add on to their lead. Javier allowed three runs with two outs as Fayetteville pushed their lead to 5-0.

Game one entered a rain delay heading to the top of the seventh as the Wood Ducks (32-25) tried to rally but fell short. Dustin Harris walked and advanced to third on a double by Cody Freeman. With runners on second and third, Thomas Saggese entered as a pinch-runner for Freeman.

Cristian Inoa singled to score Harris and Saggese went to third to cut the deficit to 5-1. Keyber Rodriguez doubled to score Saggese to make the score 5-2 and Inoa advanced to third. Angel Aponte hit a sac fly to score Inoa to make the score 5-3. Jayce Easley and Keithron Moss walked to load the bases but a flyout ended the game and the rally.

Gomez (0-2) took the loss, pitching three innings, allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts. Javier pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing three unearned runs on two hits with two walks. Florencio Serrano pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit.

Down East opened the scoring in game two in the top of the first. Aponte was hit by a pitch and stole second. Luisangel Acuña walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third. Harris reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Following two quick outs, Alejandro Osuna walked with the bases loaded to score the first run and put the Woodies ahead, 1-0.

Fayetteville followed with three runs in the bottom of the first and added one more run in the bottom of the second for the 4-1 lead.

The Wood Ducks responded with a five-run top of the fourth to take the lead back. Rodriguez singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Randy Florentino walked to put runners on first and second. After a pitching change, Antonio Cabello singled to score Rodriguez to cut the deficit to 4-2. Aponte reached on a fielding error to load the bases and Acuña singled to score Florentino and Cabello to tie the game at four. Harris followed with a two-run home run (4) to give Down East the 6-4 lead.

The Woodpeckers answered right back with a haymaker and a five-run bottom of the fourth to take the 9-6 lead.

Down East got one back in the top of the fifth. Osuna led off with a single and advanced to third on a single by Rodriguez. In the following at-bat, Florentino hit a sac fly to score Osuna to make the score 9-7.

The Wood Ducks mounted a rally in the top of the seventh. Saggese led off with a double and scored on a base hit by Osuna to pull Down East to within one, 9-8. Easley entered as a pinch-runner for Osuna and reached third and Rodriguez doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Florentino tied the game with another sac fly to score Easley from third.

Down East took the lead in the top of the eighth inning. With Aponte starting at second, Acuña reached on a fielding error that allowed Aponte to reach third. With runners at the corners, Harris hit a sac fly to score Aponte to give the Woodies the 10-9 lead. Inoa then singled and Acuña advanced to second. Moss entered as a pinch-runner for Inoa and Saggese singled to load the bases. Easley worked a bases-loaded walk to push the Woodies lead to 11-9.

Leury Tejada started game two but took the no-decision, pitching two innings and allowing four runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. John Matthews pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Eris Filpo pitched 2 1/3 innings in his Wood Ducks debut. He allowed one run on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts. Jesus Linarez (W, 1-1) pitched the final two innings, issuing one walk and striking out four.

The series continues Saturday with first pitch set for 5 p.m. RHP Nick Krauth (2-2, 3.35) gets the start for Down East and RHP Alfredi Jimenez (0-3, 4.19) will start for Fayetteville.

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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