Hoping to bounce back after being swept by Down East over the weekend, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers were still unable to log a win on Tuesday as they opened a six-game roadtrip at Five County Stadium, falling to the Carolina Mudcats 5-1. The contest featured a few interesting turns throughout, including Seth Beer's seventh home run of the year, a franchise record 12 strikeouts by Yohan Ramirez, and a dubious five errors committed by the Woodpeckers defense. With the loss, the Woodpeckers find themselves on the first four-game losing streak in the history of their franchise.
Despite the outcome, the contest started with a bang, as Seth Beer lofted a pitch sky-high to straightaway centerfield in the first inning for his seventh home run of the season, the third most in the league, to make it 1-0. Unfortunately for Fayetteville, they were not able to scratch starter Dylan File throughout the rest of the night. Besides the home run, File (2-3) faced the minimum over his first three frames, and even though Fayetteville rallied for a chance in the fourth inning with bases loaded and only one out, File still set down the side scoreless in the frame. On the day, only four Woodpeckers collected base hits, with Beer and Jacob Meyers each racking up a pair. Colton Shaver saw his career-long seven-game hit streak come to an end.
For Fayetteville, Yohan Ramirez was tasked to hold the early lead from Beer's home run. After logging a scoreless first inning and collecting two outs in the second, Ramirez allowed a trio of base hits, surrendering the lead and putting runners at first and third. Ramirez attempted multiple pickoff throws throughout the night, one of which in the second inning skipped past Beer at first, allowing another run to score, the eventual winning run. On the day, Fayetteville committed a franchise record five errors in the field. Two of the errors were on off-line pickoff throws by Ramirez, one was on a throw by center fielder Jacob Meyers, and a throwing error by each of the middle infielders.
To his credit, while Ramirez (0-2) had his issues with baserunners throughout the night, he had no issue inducing swings on unhittable sliders. The right-hander notched at least two strikeouts in every inning he pitched on the day, including a trio of strikeouts in the second and third innings, in route to a career high 12 strikeouts. The 12 strikeouts set a new franchise record for Fayetteville, as Ramirez eclipsed the 11 punchouts by Peter Solomon against Frederick on April 8th.
As the Fayetteville offense still struggled to gain momentum, the Mudcats put the game out of reach for good in the sixth inning against Hunter Martin, the reliever allowed four of the first five batters in the sixth inning to reach base safely, three of which came home to score. It was the third consecutive outing for Martin allowing at least two earned runs. Martin was eventually lifted after recovering to toss a scoreless seventh inning. Willy Collado tossed a scoreless eighth inning for Fayetteville, his fourth consecutive appearance without allowing an earned run.
Closing the game, Fayetteville had to try their hand at a pair of quality Carolina relievers, but were unable to drum anything up against Cody Beckman and Rodrigo Benoit, managing only two base hits against the pair. The latter of the hits was a one-out double by Beer. With a runner at first base in Jacob Meyers, Beer lofted another ball to deep center field, but this one bounced just at the cusp of the warning track. As Meyers raced around trying to trim the four-run deficit, he was eventually gunned down at the plate, 8-to-6-to-2. That was the last chance for Fayetteville on the night, as the final four batters they sent to the plate were all sent down.
With the loss, Fayetteville falls to a season-low two games below .500 at 15-17, and the team missed out on their chance to gain ground in the South Division amidst a rare Down East loss. The Woodpeckers will not have much time to dwell on the loss, however, as they prepare for the middle game of the series with Carolina tomorrow morning. Shawn Dubin will pick up the start for Fayetteville on the Education Day contest, with first pitch coming at 11:00AM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.