The Woodpeckers made it two wins in a row against the Red Sox to take the series lead at home. Fayetteville tallied six runs on seven hits, in the quickest game of the year. Scott Manea smacked a two-run shot for his third homer of the year and Miguelangel Sierra blasted the first grand slam at Segra Stadium this year. The Woodpeckers pitching tandem of Brett Conine and Shawn Dubin backed up the offense, by striking out a combined 14 Salem batters cementing the 6-2 Fayetteville victory.
Brett Conine (1-0) made his Woodpeckers debut facing the minimum and striking out four Salem batters in just the first two innings of play. Heading into the bottom of the second, the Woodpeckers offense gave Conine some cushion, tacking on two scores in the frame. Corey Julks kicked things off with one away, drawing a walk against Salem starter Daniel Gonzalez (1-4). Scott Manea did not waste anytime knocking Corey Julks home with a two run homer to left center, adding the fifth RBI in the last two days for the Woodpeckers catcher. Despite garnering two more baserunners Fayetteville couldn't score another run, taking a 2-0 lead after two innings.
The Red Sox responded in the third inning as Dylan Hardy began the frame by taking a base on balls marking a leadoff runner for Salem. Conine got the next batter in Nick Scirotino to strikeout looking but Jagger Rusconi followed up with an infield single that moved Hardy into scoring position. With two outs Jonathan Ortega grounded to Woodpeckers third basemen Jake Adams, but the throw to first from Adams was too high and eventually both Hardy and Rusconi ran home to tie the game at 2 apiece.
Conine pitched a speedy three up, three down top of the fourth inning, keeping the game tied going into the bottom of the frame. Corey Julks extended his hit streak to three games with a base-hit to start the inning for Fayetteville. Scott Manea registered his second hit of the day with a single of his own and then another single from Michael Papierski loaded the bases for Miguelangel Sierra. The Woodpeckers second basemen crushed a bomb over the left field wall for the first grand slam in Segra Stadium history. It was also the fifth home run for Sierra this season and his second grand slam of the year. The four-run shot put the Woodpeckers up four runs heading into the fifth frame of play.
Conine continued to deal for the Woodpeckers through fifth and even earned the first out in the sixth. Still, Salem managed two base runners in the frame leading the Woodpeckers to call to the bullpen to make the final two outs in the sixth. Conine finished his stellar night having allowed just one earned run. The right handed hurler also tied a career high by striking out nine in his first Advanced Single-A game. Shawn Dubin entered in relief, with Jarren Duran on second and Pedro Castellanos on first. Dubin walked the first batter he faced in Ryan Fitzgerald to load the bases, however the Woodpeckers reliever retired the next two Salem batters to get out of the jam and finish the scoreless inning.
The rest of the game turned into a pitching duel as Red Sox starter David Gonzalez pitched a scoreless bottom of the fifth and sixth, including striking out four 'Peckers in that span. Joan Martinez relieved Gonzalez and and threw two innings of one hit ball to halt all Fayetteville scoring. Woodpeckers reliever Shawn Dubin did not let up either, pitching three more innings and allowing just one hit. In the bottom of the ninth, Dubin sealed the game by fanning the side to give the Woodpeckers the 6-2 victory.
Fayetteville takes control of the series 2-to-1 with the final game of the four game tilt set for tomorrow. The Woodpeckers move to 18-21 on the year and the Red Sox drop 15-22. The Thirsty Thursday series finale from Segra Stadium starts at 7:00pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.