The Fayetteville Woodpeckers rallied early to open their final homestand of the first half and knocked off the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Monday night 8-4. Fayetteville smacked another pair of home runs, scored in five separate innings, and had a strong outing from Nivaldo Rodriguez to knock off their South Division foe.
Making his fourth start with Fayetteville this season, Nivaldo Rodriguez turned a quick corner after allowing a run in the first inning. Rodriguez gave up a pair of one-out singles in that opening frame, followed by a groundout by Cam Balego with runners at first and third base to score a run before Rodriguez could escape the frame. With a quick response from the Fayetteville offense, Nivaldo (W, 1-3) was able find new life for his outing. After stranding a pair of runners in the second inning, the right-hander locked in to retire the final 13 batters he faced to bridge the gap to the bullpen.
Needing to overcome an early deficit, the Woodpeckers got a quick punch in to Paul Richan for the lead. After Jonathan Arauz snuck in a bunt single on a 3-1 count, Jake Adams tattooed a line drive to the rocking chair porch in left-center field. The two-run home run marked a pair of rarities for Fayetteville. The homer was the first at Segra Stadium for Jake Adams since May 19th, and it was the first home run the put Fayetteville ahead while they were already trailing since April 14th. Coincidentally, the last home run to overcome a deficit was Miguelangel Sierra's grand slam, also against Myrtle Beach.
Held to that 2-1 margin for three-and-a-half innings, Fayetteville finally kicked Richan (L, 6-3) for another pair of runs in the fifth inning, after Bryan De La Cruz singled to right field, Colton Shaver smacked an opposite field home run for his sixth of the season. Already leading 4-1, Fayetteville consistently hit lefty Luis Lugo out of the bullpen, as the Woodpeckers poured on another two runs in the sixth inning, and single runs in the seventh and eighth. Enmanuel Valdez, Michael Papierski, along with Adams and De La Cruz all collected RBI over the stretch, as four batters recorded multi-hit games.
Holding on to a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning, Tanner Duncan was not able to maintain the strength on the mound from Rodriguez to start. Duncan walked the first batter he faced and allowed a single to the second batter before picking up a couple of outs. Unfortunately, Duncan was unable to pick up the third out before allowing 2-RBI double by DJ Wilson. After Duncan tossed a scoreless eighth, the ninth inning was turned on to Jacob Billingsley. Billingsley also struggled early on, allowing a leadoff triple to Grant Fennell, and seeing him score just one batter later, on a wild pitch. Still with a comfortable 8-4 lead, however, Billingsley was able to notch the final three outs for the Fayetteville win.
Closing their three-game losing streak, the Woodpeckers will try to kickstart a new winning streak on Tuesday when they play the second game of their series with Myrtle Beach. New addition Luis Garcia will take the mound as Fayetteville tries to win the series at Segra Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled 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.