KANNAPOLIS, NC - The Fayetteville Woodpeckers (52-62) kept the game close on Sunday afternoon before allowing three late runs in a 6-2 loss to the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (35-79) at Atrium Health Ballpark. With the loss, the Woodpeckers split the final road series of the season and close 2021 with
KANNAPOLIS, NC - The Fayetteville Woodpeckers (52-62) kept the game close on Sunday afternoon before allowing three late runs in a 6-2 loss to the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (35-79) at Atrium Health Ballpark. With the loss, the Woodpeckers split the final road series of the season and close 2021 with a 20-40 overall road record.
Spencer Arrighetti (L, 2-1) tossed a scoreless first with two strikeouts to start his day. He opened the second with a strikeout of Samil Polanco, who advanced to first after a dropped third strike by catcher Nerio Rodriguez. Arrighetti recovered to strike out three more hitters and rack up four in the inning before closing the frame.
The Woodpeckers loaded up the bases in the third on Matt Thompson with two outs on a Kobe Kato double and back-to-back walks but were unable to score.
Arrighetti was lifted from the game in the bottom third after Caberea Weaver reached on a fielder’s choice and Brian Ramos drew a walk with two outs. Jose Betances emerged from the bullpen and surrendered an RBI single to Adam Hackenberg that gave Kannapolis a 1-0 lead. Polanco followed up with a two-run double that capped a three-run inning.
Facing Kohl Simas (W, 2-0) with two outs in the fifth, Kobe Kato smashed a high fastball into right center field. Right fielder A.J. Gill couldn’t come up with a diving catch and the ball rolled to the wall, allowing Kato to sprint all the way home on an inside-the-park home run. The homer was Kato’s first as a pro and cut the deficit to 3-1.
Will Wagner and Rodriguez drew back-to-back walks in the sixth and Miguel Palma connected with an RBI single that scored Wagner to make it a one-run game at 3-2. Rhett Kouba tossed a scoreless sixth, stranding a runner at second to give the offense another chance.
With one out in the seventh, Kato reached on a throwing error by third baseman Bryan Ramos. Kato nearly tied the game when Joey Loperfido lifted a double off the center field wall, but the cutoff throw from Wilber Sanchez to Hackenberg caught Kato at the plate to keep things at 3-2.
The Cannon Ballers scored an important insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single by Hackenberg that made it 4-2, and put the game out of reach in the eighth against Carlos Hiraldo on an RBI double and a sac fly to give them a four-run cushion at 6-2.
Theo Denlinger and Zach Cable retired the Fayetteville side in order in the eighth and ninth to close out the game.
The Woodpeckers will enjoy an off-day on Monday and will start a six-game home series against the Carolina Mudcats (65-49) on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. E.T. Both starters are TBA.
FULL BOX SCORE: Woodpeckers 2, Cannon Ballers 6 (Final Score) on Gameday (milb.com)