The Fayetteville Woodpeckers rode two fantastic pitching performances and one big offensive inning to a game one victory over the Carolina Mudcats at Segra Stadium. JP France and Riley Cabral amassed fifteen total strikeouts and allowed just two hits on the hill to complete the Woodpeckers ninth shutout victory of the season. The Fayetteville bats knocked home three runs in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a pair of Woodpeckers doubles from Jonathan Arauz and Enmanuel Valdez. Scott Manea also strung together a 2-for-3 Friday night to lead Fayetteville to a 3-0 win that put Fayetteville in the driver's seat of the three game tilt versus Carolina at home.
JP France (4-6) actually started his gem of a game by walking a batter in Mudcats leadoff hitter Brice Turang. The Woodpeckers hurler quickly flipped a switch, locking in for the rest of the game, starting by retiring the next three Carolina batters in the first frame. The Woodpeckers offense looked to tack on some runs in the bottom of the first against Mudcats starter Christian Taugner (4-7), with Jeremy Pena knocking a leadoff single. Jacob Meyers ended up replacing Pena by hitting into a fielder's choice to put two away in the frame. Jake Adams followed by drawing a walk to put two runners on for the Woodpeckers, but Taugner ended the inning with a 3-1 putout to leave both Meyers and Adams stranded.
France retired ten straight, tossing a no hitter until Tristen Lutz chopped a one out single in the top of the fourth off the glove of a diving Jeremy Pena. The Fayetteville starter did not let the hit phase him, striking out Mario Feliciano and forcing Peyton Henry into a 6-3 putout to end yet another scoreless inning. The Woodpeckers offense registered just two hits against Taugner through the fourth inning, a single each for Scott Manea and Jacob Meyers in the second and fourth respectively. Neither runner came home, keeping the game scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when Fayetteville finally got the bats going. Scott Manea kicked off the fifth inning by smoking a double off the wall in center field. Ross Adolph moved Manea to third with a base hit, putting runners at the corners for Fayetteville and the go-ahead run 90 feet away. The Woodpeckers scored the first tally of the game when Miguelangel Sierra launched a ball high into right field, Mudcats outfielder Lutz made the out but Manea was able to tag up and cross home plate. The run made it 1-0 Fayetteville and also made it an even 30 RBIs on the season for Sierra. With now one away and Ross Adolph at second, Enmanuel Valdez laced a double to center. On the throw to second to try and catch Valdez the ball bounced of the body of the runner and the could not be tracked down by the Carolina infield, allowing for Adolph to score on the E8 committed by Zach Clark. Jeremy Pena sliced into out number two, but then Jonathan Arauz lofted a ball extremely high into the outfield that Clark lost track of in center, letting it drop in as a two-bagger. The misplayed double allowed for Valdez to score, giving Arauz his 38th RBI and making it 3-0 Fayetteville after five innings of play.
With France still on the mound in the top of the sixth, Brice Turang tried to start a rally with one away, ripping a double and the first hit game for the Mudcats since the fourth. However France was not allowing a rally on his watch, sending down Ryan Aguilar and then striking out Tristen Lutz to end yet another shoutout frame. The fan against Lutz also set a new career high in strikeouts for JP, who tallied nine total against the Mudcats. As if that wasn't enough the Fayetteville hurler went out for the seventh inning, going three up, three down for his second straight seven inning appearance on the mound.
The Woodpeckers could not add anymore insurance runs for the remainder of the game, not earning a hit against any of the two Carolina relievers after the fifth. Fayetteville did however walk three times against teh Mudcats bullpen duo of Michael Peterson and Phil Bickford. Scott Manea also took a pitch to the shoulder, but none of those baserunners came home to keep the Woodpeckers run total to three. Turns out those trio of runs were plenty for Fayetteville, as Riley Cabral made his Segra Stadium debut and picked up right where JP France left off int the top of the eighth. Cabral fanned all the Carolina batters he faced through the ninth, meaning his outing consisted of just six straight strikeouts to cement a Woodpeckers 3-0 shutout victory.
Fayetteville moves to 18-18 in the second half and with the Myrtle Beach loss now moves to one game out of a playoff spot in the South Division. The Mudcats on the other hand drop their fourth game in a row and 16-20 in the second half of the season. The Woodpeckers have a chance to take the series tomorrow in game two of a three game tilt. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.
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.