Returning the favor for surrendering the Woodpeckers' first-ever walk-off win just over a week ago, the Wilmington Blue Rocks walked off the Fayetteville Woodpeckers on Saturday night. A bases loaded single by Blake Perkins in the tenth inning was the nail in the coffin for the 4-3 final as Fayetteville lost in walk-off fashion for the eighth time this season. Once again leading by a fair margin early on, the Woodpeckers offense went silent in the late innings, stranding 12 runners on base, and seven in scoring position.
What has seemed to be a trend for Fayetteville, the offense was quick to strike against Wilmington starter Jackson Kowar. After Kowar recorded an out to open the game, each of the next five batters for the Woodpeckers reached safely, including an RBI single by Colton Shaver, and a double by Scott Schreiber that brought home two runs. Even with momentum and an early 3-0 lead, that would turn to be the only offense that Fayetteville could muster on the night. Kowar allowed scattered base hits over his next six innings, but only dealt with a single runner reaching third base. In the sixth inning, Chandler Taylor led off with a single, and advanced to third thanks to a walk and a hit batsman. With only one out, Bryan De La Cruz chopped a grounder to third base, allowing the throw to go home and force out Taylor before he could score.
Needing another dominant start from Shawn Dubin, Fayetteville was given early assurance, as Dubin tossed two scoreless frames to start. Unfortunately for Dubin, neither of the first two innings were speedy, as the right-hander was already north of 50 pitches by the end of the second. Dubin was finally hit for a run in the third inning on a simple walk coupled with a sacrifice bunt and a single. Reaching a pitch limit after the fourth inning, Dubin was replaced by Austin Hansen, a recent callup from Single-A Quad Cities, for his Woodpeckers debut. Hansen did not adjust to Advanced-A right away, sadly, and allowed the first four batters he faced to reach safely, giving Wilmington another run and trimming the lead to just one. Hansen rebounded to toss a scoreless sixth inning, but he failed to start the seventh inning on the right note. Brewer Hicklen opened the frame with a blast to left-center field for a triple, but he was gifted a free base when the relay throw to third base sailed into the stands. The throwing error tied the game at three.
With relievers trading scoreless frames for both the eighth and ninth innings, the game went into extra frames for the fifth time this season.
In the tenth, Bryan Brickhouse came on for Wilmington to try for the scoreless frame. With Jake Adams opening the inning at second base, Scott Schreiber dropped a bunt toward third base to advance Adams up. Following a walk, Brickhouse (W, 1-0) logged back-to-back punchouts to strand the go-ahead run at third and maintain the tie. In the bottom of the frame, Willy Collado stayed on the mound after tossing a perfect ninth inning, but he was not as smooth for the extra frame. With a passed ball advancing the runner at second base to open the frame, Collado struck out a batter and was fortunate for a bunt attempt that led to a 3-2 putout at home. After a walk, Collado (L, 0-3) only needed one out to send the game into the 11th inning, but he labored through a battle with pinch-hitter Dennicher Carrasco, eventually walking him to load the bases. With no margin for error, the leadoff batter Blake Perkins laced a single up the right field line to bring in the winning run from third base.
The loss is now the eighth walk-off los this season for Fayetteville, after being walked off by Frederick twice, Wisnton-Salem twice, Down East, Lynchburg, and Potomac. Fayetteville has been walked off at least once on every roadtrip this season. With the loss, Wilmington takes a lead in the four-game series, as Fayetteville will try to split the set with tomorrow's matinee finale. JP France will get the start for the Woodpeckers at Frawley Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35PM.
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.