Banks, Cruz star in Winston-Salem's first win

Cruz's inside-the-parker supports Banks' eight-inning gem

Tanner Banks spun eight dominant innings in Tuesday's 6-1 win at Down East. (Jody Stewart/Winston-Salem Dash)

By Winston-Salem Dash | April 11, 2017 9:24 PM ET

KINSTON, N.C. (April 11, 2017) - Behind Tanner Banks' eight masterful innings and Johan Cruz's inside-the-park home run, Winston-Salem overwhelmed the Down East Wood Ducks 6-1 on Tuesday night at Grainger Stadium.

After posting a quality start on Opening Day at Buies Creek, Banks (1-0) was even better against the Wood Ducks (4-2). The southpaw cruised through eight innings and only surrendered one run, an unearned tally in the eighth, on five hits. Banks fanned eight, one shy of a career-high, during his 95-pitch masterpiece.

The Dash (1-5) capped their biggest offensive performance of the season with two homers in the fifth. Louis Silverio tattooed a leadoff blast over the left field wall before Cruz went the unconventional way for his first High-A home run.

Cruz hit a bullet off the wall in left field, and it ricocheted back toward the infield. Down East center fielder Michael O'Neill had to hustle over to grab it after left fielder Ledarious Clark tried to make a jumping catch at the wall, but Cruz raced around the diamond for Winston-Salem's first inside-the-park home run since Courtney Hawkins accomplished the feat on July 30, 2014, at BB&T Ballpark.

BLOG: Zack Collins' defensive improvements behind the plate

In the second, Winston seized the lead with a Danny Mendick RBI triple. The Dash added to their lead by aggressively attacking Wood Ducks starter Peter Fairbanks (0-1) in the third. They collected five hits on his first seven pitches of the frame, including three consecutive first-pitch, run-scoring knocks by Brady ConlanToby Thomas and Cruz. 

This proved to be plenty of offense for Banks and Ryan Riga, the latter of whom spun a perfect ninth to clinch the Dash's first victory of the season. This duo faced the minimum in five of nine innings, and only three Wood Ducks reached scoring position throughout the contest.

Eight of the Dash's nine hitters registered at least one hit, with Cruz, Silverio, Alex Call and Aaron Schnurbusch delivering two-hit showings. Before this game, Winston-Salem was hitting .196 as a team and averaged 2.6 runs per game on the young season.

Winston-Salem eyes a series victory in Wednesday's rubber match, which will begin at 11 a.m. in Kinston. The Dash send right-hander Zach Thompson (0-0, 3.60 ERA) to the mound for his second start of the year. Southpaw Joe Palumbo (0-0, 3.00 ERA) counters for the Wood Ducks. The Pregame Dash begins at 10:45 a.m. on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio App.

#YourHomeTeam returns to BB&T Ballpark for a seven-game homestand that starts Thursday and features a different promotion every night. Highlights include a pair of fireworks shows and three Kids Run the Bases games, powered by New Balance Winston-Salem. For tickets, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 or visit wsdash.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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