The Fayetteville Woodpeckers went back and forth with the Potomac Nationals for most of the game, with the Woodpeckers leading by just one run going into the top of the eighth. Chandler Taylor and Scott Manea both smacked solo home runs and Corey Julks tallied two RBIs to put the Woodpeckers ahead. However, the top of the eighth was disastrous for Fayetteville who had to use three pitchers as the Nationals piled on nine runs in the single frame, tying a record at Segra Stadium. The Potomac offense continued to add to the lopsided score in the top of the ninth scoring 15 runs total in the game, the most allowed by the Fayetteville this year. Ultimately the Woodpeckers fell in a blowout fashion 15-4, splitting the series with the Nationals at Segra Stadium to end the first half.
Despite three Potomac runners getting into scoring position, Jojanse Torres started the day for the Woodpeckers by pitching four scoreless frames. The Fayetteville hurler finally allowed a run int the top of the fifth inning, beginning the frame by tossing back-to-back walks against Armond Upshaw and Gage Canning. Upshaw swiped third for his ninth steal of the year and came home thanks to a deep fly ball into left field from Aldrem Corredor. The Nationals slugger now has a 47 RBIs on the year, good for second in the Carolina League. The RBI also put Potomac on the board, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead after the top of the fifth.
The Woodpeckers offense started the game a little slow against Potomac pitcher Andrew Lee, just getting two baserunners on through the first four and 2/3 innings of play. The two baserunners for Fayetteville were Corey Julks who was hit by a pitch in the second frame and Marty Costes who walked in the fourth frame, both were stranded at first. The Potomac starter sent down the the first two batters in the bottom of the fifth in order, but Scott Manea ruined the no hitter by slicing a home run over the right field wall. It was Manea's fifth bomb of the year and tied the game at one apiece. Miguelangel Sierra struck out to end the frame but both teams headed into the sixth inning with a clean slate.
The Nationals did not waste any time regaining the lead in the top of the sixth with Torres still on the mound. The Woodpeckers starter sent down Alex Dunlap to make it the longest outing of his career and put one away in the inning. Jakson Reetz knocked an infield single to put a runner aboard for Potomac and came home after a smoked triple from Bryan Mejia. Mejia's second three-bagger of the afternoon gave Potomac a 2-1 lead with no outs and a runner 90-feet away. The score crossed home plate after Omar Meregildo laced a single to left field to tack on another run and make it 3-1 Nationals. Torres settled in and retired the next two batters he faced and end the inning, yet the Woodpeckers offense were now in need of a comeback. In the bottom the frame Fayetteville answered the call, as Chandler Taylor started the sixth by crushing a solo shot to Healy's Bar and cut the Potomac lead to one. Taylor now has four homers on the season with the Woodpeckers. Despite the bomb, Lee was able to send down the next two batters Fayetteville sent to the plate in Jonathan Arauz and Scott Schreiber. With two away, Marty Costes roped a two bagger to put the tying runner in scoring position for the Woodpeckers. Enmanuel Valdez was hit by a pitch to put a pair on the base paths for Corey Julks who stepped up to the plate and blasted a two RBI double off the left field wall, scoring Costes and Valdez. The knock from Julks made it 4-3 with Fayetteville taking the lead for the first time on the day after six inning of play at Segra Stadium.
That score stayed the same as Cesar Rosado (2-2) sent down the side in order in the top of the seventh for the Woodpeckers, followed a scoreless frame from Aaron Fletcher (1-0) on the mound in relief for Potomac. The top of the eighth got much uglier for Fayetteville, starting out with Rosado walking back-to-back Nationals in Dunlap and Reetz. The Woodpecker's reliever got out number one when Bryan Mejia popped out, but then the bases were loaded when Meregildo was clipped with a pitch from Rosado. Armond Upshaw was retired for out number two, but Rosado walked another batter in Canning that scored the tying run and made it 5-5 with the bases still loaded. The Woodpeckers made a pitching change sending in Leovanny Rodriguez to try and get the final out of the frame. The Nationals offense would not let up and Nick Banks crushed his second grand slam of the season to clear the bases and make it 8-4 Potomac. The Nats just kept scoring racking up four more runs in the top of the eighth, off of two RBI extra-base hits from Telmito Augustin and Bryan Mejia. Jacob Billingsley came in as the third pitcher of the inning for Fayetteville finally ending the frame by striking out Meregildo. Still, the Woodpeckers found themselves down 12-4 after the Nationals tied for the most runs scored in an inning against the Woodpeckers with nine total.
The Woodpeckers could not launch a monstrous rally and the Nationals notched three more scores against Jacob Billingsley in the top of the ninth, as Fayetteville was demolished 15-4 at home. The Woodpeckers finish the first half 31-38, while Potomac advances to 30-37. Fayetteville enjoys three days off for the All-Star break and then returns to action Thursday, June 20th in Myrtle Beach.
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.