Fayetteville, N.C. - The Fayetteville Woodpeckers scratched across the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, to come back and defeat the Wood Ducks, clinching the second half Southern Division title.
Down East (37-31, 87-51) was held to just three hits in the contest, and failed to reach base in six of their nine innings at-bat.
Luis Garcia was dominant on the mound for the Woodpeckers (40-29, 71-67), retiring the first nine batters he faced, including seven strikeouts. The Wood Ducks got to him only in the fourth inning. Julio Pablo Martinez led off the inning with a walk, and Sam Huff followed with a single to center field. Garcia then released two wild pitches, allowing Martinez to come into score and make it 1-0 Wood Ducks. After a walk to Curtis Terry put runners at the corners, Diosbel Arias hit a sinking line drive into center field. Cal Stevenson deked like he would catch the ball and then played it on one bounce, firing a one hop throw to Scott Manea at the plate, in time to get Huff, and stop the Down East rally.
Garcia finished by going six innings, allowing one run on three hits, walked three and struck out 12. He also posted a career-high 13 strikeouts against the Wood Ducks earlier in the month.
Fayetteville then tied the score in the home half of the inning when Chandler Taylor led off with a moonshot homer run to right-center off of Reid Anderson, his 14th of the season.
It was the only run Anderson would allow, as he went on to record his eighth quality start of the season, matching the team high. Anderson worked six innings, giving up one run on four hits, walked four, and matched a season-high with seven strikeouts.
Sam Hellinger (loss, 1-1) took over in the seventh. He allowed the first two men to reach on a walk and a single, but then induced a double-play ball to help him get out of the inning. In the eighth, he allowed a double to Stevenson to begin the inning and then issued a walk to Taylor to end his night. Michael Matuella came out of the bullpen, and David Hensley greeted him with a double to the base of the wall in right to score Stevenson and put Fayetteville ahead, 2-1. Hensley also came through with the game-winning hit for Fayetteville in game one on Saturday.
Cesar Rosado (win, 3-7) struck out five and did not allow a hit in three scoreless innings in relief. He allowed one baserunner, a walk, but faced the minimum to finish the ballgame.
Down East and Fayetteville wrap up regular season play Monday at 7 p.m. The Woodpeckers will send right-hander Shawn Dubin (5-5, 4.18) to the mound, while Down East has yet to announce their starter for the contest. The broadcast will begin at 6:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. The Wood Ducks will return to Grainger Stadium for Game Three of the Divisional Round of the playoffs Friday, September 6. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.