The Fayetteville Woodpeckers took the first of a five-game series against the Down East Wood Ducks Friday night at Segra Stadium. Woodpeckers starting hurler Jojanse Torres picked up his fourth straight victory and pitched six shutout innings. The Fayetteville offense poured on four runs in the bottom of the third to take an early lead, in the decisive 8-1 Woodpeckers victory. The game was highlighted by Scott Schreiber going 2-4 with two RBIs and Scott Manea launching a two-run shot. Fayetteville takes control of the final regular season series, with the winner of the last tilt taking the second half title in the South Division.
Jojanse Torres (9-0) struck out JP Martinez to start the game, then retired the next two batters he faced to keep the game scoreless early. The Woodpeckers offense backed up their starting hurler by notching two tallies in the bottom of the first against Down East starter Tim Brennan (4-3). Jeremy Pena kicked things off by slicing a single to left, coming home when Cal Stevenson laced a triple behind Martinez in center field. The extra base hit put an insurance run 90-feet away that scored on an infield single to third from David Hensley. Stevenson's tally made it 2-0 Woodpeckers after just one frame of play.
Torres finally allowed a baserunner to start the second giving up a walk to Sherton Apostel, but he sent down the next three batters he faced to end the top of the second. Scott Schreiber roped a single up the middle in the bottom of the frame, but he was left stranded to keep it 2-0 Fayetteville after the second frame. The Woodpeckers did not make the same mistake in the bottom of the third, racking up four runs to take a huge lead. Cal Stevenson knocked his second hit of the day with a leadoff single, followed by a one out base hit off the bat of Chandler Taylor. With still just one away Stevenson scored when David Hensley laced another single into left field, giving Fayetteville a three-run lead. Next up, Scott Manea hit a ball into shallow center field that was lost in the sky by the Wood Ducks defense, dropping in untouched and loading the bases. Michael Papierski added his 38th RBI of the year by chopping into a 4-3 groundout that still managed to score Taylor. Scott Schreiber notched his second single of the day on a ground ball to center field that brought home both Hensley and Manea. Schreiber continues his six-game hit streak while also making it 30 total RBIs on the year with Fayetteville. Miguelangel Sierra trickled into a 6-3 putout that ended the frame, but the Woodpeckers did their damage, sending eight to the plate and making it 6-0 Fayetteville.
With the Woodpeckers now up big Jojanse Torres had some wiggle room on the mound, not that he needed it. The Fayetteville hurler continued his stellar day, not allowing a hit until the Curtis Terry sliced a single with one away in the fourth. Torres was unfazed, retiring the next two batters to continue his scoreless night. Down East threatened to end the shutout in the top of the sixth thanks to a pair of singles from JP Martinez and Sherton Apostel. That put runners at the corners with two outs for the Wood Ducks, but Torres would retire Yohel Pozo in a 4-3 ground out to finish his outing having tossed six shutout innings.
After giving up six runs and nine hits in the first three frames, Tim Brennan retired 10 straight Woodpeckers to keep it 6-0 after six innings of play. Both teams made a pitching change in the top of the seventh, the Woodpeckers sending out Leovanny Rodriguez while the Wood Ducks turned to Cole Uvila. Rodriguez fanned the first two batters he faced in his first frame of work, but he did give up a base on balls to Josh Altmann. Still, the Woodpeckers reliever forced a 1-3 putout to end the frame and keep the shutout going. With Uvila on the mound Jeremy Pena quickly knocked a single, but he was left stranded as Fayetteville went down in order.
Down East finally got on the board in the top of eighth when JP Martinez blasted a solo shot over the right field wall to leadoff the frame. The homer was the 13th of the season for the Wood Ducks slugger and cut the Woodpeckers lead to five. Rodriguez did hit Curtis Terry with a pitch in the frame, but he managed to strike out Apostel and Tyler Depreta-Johnson to end the inning. The Fayetteville offense extended the lead once more in the bottom of the eighth, starting with Hensley's 10th double of the season. Scott Manea followed with a bomb to left field, the first homer by the Woodpeckers at Segra Stadium since August 15th. The shot was Manea's 12th of the season and also put the Woodpeckers up 8-1. Fayetteville did not score any more runs but thanks to a scoreless top of the ninth frame from Rodriguez and Cesar Rosado on the mound picked up the lopsided seven run victory. Fayetteville now moves to 69-66 on the year and 37-28 in the second half. The Woodpeckers are now a full game ahead of Down East for the second half title. Fayetteville looks to win the series tomorrow in a doubleheader at Segra Stadium. Game one is scheduled for 3:00pm and game two will follow thirty minutes later.
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.