The Fayetteville Woodpeckers used yet another overriding pitching performance to take down the Carolina Mudcats on Monday, opening the four-game tilt with a 4-3 win. Luis Garcia tossed five hitless innings in a beautiful performance, while David Hensley and Chandler Taylor drove in the run support for Fayetteville, as Taylor blasted a two-run homer in the first inning, and Hensley doubled in a pair in the fifth frame. The Fayetteville win coupled with a Down East loss puts Fayetteville in first place for the first time since early July
Wasting no time, as usual, the Woodpeckers struck early against Carolina starter Matt Smith. Following a one-out walk, Chandler Taylor blasted a ball through the humid evening in right-center field to give Fayetteville a quick 2-0 lead. Smith was able to dance around trouble over the following three innings, stranding four baserunners into the fifth inning. In the fifth, Smith (L, 4-12) walked Michael Papierski for the second time in the contest and was lifted following. Reliever J.T. Hintzen allowed a single to Cal Stevenson out of the bullpen, and eventually a towering double from David Hensley to drive home another pair for Fayetteville. Even with the offense trending in the right direction through five innings, Fayetteville fell quiet after Hensley's double, as the Woodpeckers failed to push another runner to third base against both Hintzen and fellow reliever Robbie Hitt. The offensive lull gave Carolina the opportunity to cut the game close.
Continuing his torrid attack across the league in the month of August, Luis Garcia picked apart the Mudcats offense for five innings. Garcia (W, 6-4) retired the first eight batters of the game, and while he tied a career high with four walks, the young right-hander for Fayetteville never surrendered even a hit over his time on the mound. Garcia collected ten more strikeouts for Fayetteville, and Garcia has now struck out 40 batters over his last 21 innings. Arching his pitch count high, Garcia was lifted ahead of the sixth inning for Leovanny Rodriguez, but the righty reliever for Fayetteville quickly struggled. Rodriguez failed to maintain both the no-hitter and the shutout in the span of just four batters, eventually giving up a 2RBI double to Rob Henry. Rodriguez allowed another run in the seventh inning when Wes Rogers doubled to left field, cutting the lead to just one run. Rodriguez was lifted following the double in favor of Cesar Rosado, a move turned well as Rosado faced the minimum over 1 1/3 frames to send the contest to the ninth inning. Riley Cabral came on for Fayetteville to try for the save, but Cabral had his back against the wall after only three pitches. Cabral allowed a leadoff single on his first pitch of the frame, and the right-hander committed a throwing error on a sacrifice attempt, allowing the tying run to reach third base, and the winning run to move to second base. With no margin for error, Cabral found the zone, striking out the next three batters he pitched to to lock in his third save with Fayetteville.
The winner for Fayetteville accomplishes multiple feats. Now standing at 66-65 on the year, Fayetteville has a winning record for the first time since May 7th. Adding a lost by the Down East Wood Ducks to the mix, Fayetteville moves back into sole possession of first place for the first time since late June. With only eight games remaining in 2019, Fayetteville will try for their fourth consecutive win on Tuesday, as they continue their series with Carolina at 7:00PM
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers are the Advanced Single-A affiliate of the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros and play in their Inaugural Season at beautiful Segra Stadium in downtown Fayetteville. Segra Stadium, a $40 million state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, features space for over 5,200 fans, natural grass, a 25x70 LED video scoreboard, six luxury suites, four field boxes, the premium AEVEX Veterans Club level, Healy's Bar and outdoor party deck, a kid's zone, and more. With a rich history of baseball in the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County, the Woodpeckers are thrilled to write a new chapter with their inaugural campaign on Hay Street. Fans are encouraged to visit FayettevilleWoodpeckers.com to purchase tickets, learn more about the team, and find out about upcoming events and promotions at the ballpark. Fans may also reach the Woodpeckers by visiting the BB&T Box Office in front of Segra Stadium, calling (910) 339-1989, or emailing woodpeckers@Astros.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.