The Woodpeckers continued their dominance over the Pelicans snatching their second straight game and fifth overall against Myrtle Beach this year. Fayetteville notched five runs in the first frame, highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of Enmanuel Valdez. The Woodpeckers have now blasted five grand slams this year, including two against the Pelicans. Fayetteville pitching held the Myrtle Beach scoreless through seven innings, allowing just one score in the Woodpeckers 5-1 Tuesday night victory at Segra Stadium.
Luis Garcia (2-0) made his Segra Stadium debut as the starter on the mound for the Woodpeckers. The right handed hurler gave up a leadoff single to Zach Davis to start the game, but then sent down the Pelicans in order to end the scoreless frame for Fayetteville. The Woodpeckers offense added some cushion for their pitcher in the bottom of the first, started by Marty Costes being clipped with a pitch from Pelicans starter Erick Leal (0-1). Jonathan Arauz then knocked a single, followed by a walk drawn by Scott Schreiber to load the bases with no outs for Woodpeckers slugger Jake Adams. The Iowa product smacked a ball to left field that didn't have enough carry to leave the park but did give Costes enough time to tag up and score on the sacrifice making it 1-0 Fayetteville. The 'Peckers did not waste much time loading the bases again after Chandler Taylor earned his own base on balls. Leal got the second out by striking out Jacob Meyers, so now with two away and three on base Enmanuel Valdez stepped to the plate for the Woodpeckers. The Fayetteville second basemen smashed a homer to right center field for the 5th Woodpeckers grand slam this year. It was the second time Valdez has gone yard this season with Fayetteville, the bomb making it 5-0 Woodpeckers in just the first frame. With the bases totally clear Michael Papierski roped a base-hit of his own, but was left stranded after Scott Manea flew out the center. The Woodpeckers sent the entire lineup to the plate, with six players reaching base, and tallying five total runs to take a hefty lead into the top of the second.
Cam Balego drew a walk as the first batter in the next frame, but he would be the last baserunner allowed by Woodpeckers righty Luis Garcia. Aramis Ademan hit into a double play, forcing out Balego and putting two away for the Pelicans. Garcia then fanned Grant Fennell to end the inning keeping the score 5-0. The righty was red hot for the rest of his outing, facing the minimum in his last four innings of work, lasting through the fifth frame. The recent call up allowed just one hit total and struck out six in his stellar start, being replaced by Jojanse Torres in the top of the sixth. On the offensive end, the Woodpeckers could not do much against Leal once he settled in after giving up the five runs in the first inning. Fayetteville only knocked three more hits in the next five frames, only getting one runner in scoring position. It was Jacob Meyers who sliced a double in the third inning but Leal had started to deal as he did not allow Meyers or another run to score through the sixth inning. Alexander Vargas replaced Leal in the bottom of the seventh, sending down the side in order for his lone inning of work on the mound.
Torres pitched two scoreless frames to start the day in relief for the Woodpeckers, despite three Pelicans getting into scoring position. A Myrtle Beach run finally came through in the top of the eighth with Torres still on the mound, ruining the shutout for the Fayetteville pitching staff. A walk started the inning for Myrtle Beach as DJ Wilson drew a base on balls to put a leadoff runner on. Wilson moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a ground out hit into by Zach Davis. Now with a score 90-feet away from home and two already gone, Kevante Mitchell chopped a ball to Woodpeckers third basemen Jake Adams who could not glove the ball, allowing Wilson to score. The error means the tally was unearned, but nonetheless the Pelicans were on the board. Torres finished the frame by forcing Balego to bat the breeze, meaning the Woodpeckers still controlled the contest up 5-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. For that frame the Pelicans went to the bullpen again sending out Ben Hecht. After retiring both Scott Schrieber and Jake Adams, Hecht walked Chandler Taylor but ended the eighth after a fly out from Jacob Meyers.
The Woodpeckers sent out Leovanny Rodriguez to finish off the game in the top of the ninth, the reliever quickly fanned Ademan for out number one. Finding the zone became a little more difficult for Rodriguez against next three batters he faced, as he loaded the bases by walking Grant Fennell, Jimmy Herron, and DJ Wilson. Fayetteville then made a pitching change to finish off the contest, calling upon Willy Collado to get the final two outs. Collado was up to the task striking out back-to-back batters to leave three Pelicans stranded on the base paths and solidify a 5-1 Fayetteville Woodpeckers victory over Myrtle Beach.
Fayetteville cements their series victory with the Tuesday night win, going for the sweep tomorrow. The Woodpeckers also hand Myrtle Beach its sixth loss in a row and fifth loss to Fayetteville this season. The Pelicans fall to 20-42 while the 'Peckers advance to 28-36. The Woodpeckers can make it three straight wins tomorrow in the final game of a three game tilt. The Wednesday night showdown is set for 7:00pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.