For the second night in a row the Fayetteville Woodpeckers were shutout into the seventh inning, as Salem Red Sox starter Dylan Thompson blanked Fayetteville until a sacrifice fly from Enmanuel Valdez finally put a tally up for the Woodpeckers. The score was too little, too late fo for Fayetteville because Salem had piled on eleven runs behind fourteen hits in the Red Sox 11-1 rain shortened victory. The Sox poured on four runs in the first inning and five runs in the seventh, making it seven frames this season in which Salem has scored more than four runs against the Woodpeckers. The Woodpeckers trail the series two-to-none and look to avoid a sweep heading into Wednesday's series finale at Segra Stadium
The Salem offense came out firing again, tagging Woodpeckers starter Luis Garcia (3-1) with four runs right away. Jagger Rusconi launched a solo shot in the leadoff spot, blasting his second home run in as many days for the Red Sox. Pedro Castellanos knocked a single to follow, but was thrown out by Woodpeckers catcher Michael Papierski, the tag applied by Jonathan Arauz. Garcia struck out Ryan Fitzgerald for out number one and then the Red Sox went four straight batters with with all reaching base. Keith Cercio smacked a single, Marcus Wilson walked, and both were driven home off a triple to right field from Edgar Corcino. Tanner Nishioka brought home Edgar Corcino with an RBI single of his own, making it 4-0 Salem and also forcing Fayetteville to make a pitching change. The Woodpeckers sent out Humberto Castellanos to get the final out of the first frame, retiring Nick Sciortino to stopping the bleeding after just half an inning of play.
In an emergency relief appearance Castellanos was solid, pitching three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit until the top of the fifth. That frame proved a little bumpier for the Woodpeckers reliever who allowed a leadoff triple to Jagger Rusconi, followed by an RBI single that made it 5-0 from Red Sox first basemen Pedro Castellanos. The Woodpeckers then made a pitching change sending out Cesar Rosado to get all three outs in the top of the fifth. Rosado retired Ryan Fitzgerald for out number one, but then Casetellanos scored after Keith Cercio hit a two-bagger that made it 6-0 Salem. The Woodpeckers righty then settled in and fanned Marcus Wilson and Edgar Corcino to end the inning. Rosado walked a batter in the top of the sixth, but then struck out the next three Salem batters in order to pitch a scoreless frame for the Woodpeckers.
The top of the seventh saw the Salem bats come alive again, starting with one out when Ryan Fitzgerald smoked a triple to right center field, immediately coming home thanks to Keith Cercio's single. After the Woodpeckers made another pitching change and sent out Jacob Billinglsey, Nishioka scored Cercio with a sacrifice fly to center. With still two runners on, Nick Sciortino stepped up to the plate and blasted a three run shot to right field that continued the pile on and made it 11-0 Red Sox. It was the first homer of the the year for the Salem catcher and nearly doubled his RBI total on the season to seven. Billingsley finally ended the five-run inning by sending down Nick Lovullo, but the Woodpeckers found themselves in one of the largest holes of the year.
Dylan Thompson (2-6) pitched a gem for the Red Sox going the distance in the rain shortened game for the longest outing of his Salem career. The Sox hurler retired nine straight from the fourth to the sixth inning, with the Fayetteville offense finally breaking that thanks to a leadoff seventh inning base hit from Jake Adams. Adams was forced out and replaced by Jonathan Arauz on a fielder's choice to put one away. The Woodpeckers then strung together a pair of RBI singles to load the bases for Enmanuel Valdez. The Fayetteville third basemen smacked a high fly ball to center field to score Jonathan Arauz and finally put the Woodpeckers on the board. With now two outs, Thompson retried Ruben Castro to leave two runners stranded and end the seventh with the Red Sox still holding a decisive 11-1 lead. The final two inning were eventually scratched due to a rain storm that engulfed Segra Stadium, so in a seven inning game the Red Sox took care of business with a ten run victory.
Fayetteville is now 6-7 in the second half while Salem is 9-4 and holds first place in the North Division. The Woodpeckers have now dropped their last four games to the Red Sox, including the two in a row at Segra Stadium. Fayetteville looks to avoid the sweep tomorrow in the series finale. Shawn Dubin is set to climb the hill with first pitch set for 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.