For the first time in over a month, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers won the first game of a series, as they handily knocked off the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday night with an 8-1 thumping in Wilmington. While the game has no meaning in a first half that Fayetteville has already been eliminated from, the evening was loaded with quirks above most. It was the longest nine-inning game in franchise history, clocking in at three hours and fifty-three minutes, and it featured the first instance of a position player pitching in franchise history, as Miguelangel Sierra lobbed a scoreless ninth inning to lock down the win.
While it was another quality offensive day for Fayetteville, it didn't start with their trademark power. The Woodpeckers scored their first four runs of the day against Daniel Tillo (L, 4-5) without the aid of an extra-base-hit. Loading the bases in the second inning with a pair of singles and a walk, three runs came home to score on a groundout, an error, and a sacrifice fly before the frame was over. After a scoreless third inning, the Woodpeckers struck again when Chandler Taylor singled to right field, advanced on an error and a wild pitch, and quickly came home to score on a single by Michael Papierski. Papierski wrapped his day by going 2-for-5 with two runs driven in.
Calling back to their well-known power, Fayetteville launched a couple of home runs in the fifth inning to fully establish their presence at Frawley Stadium. Jake Adams blasted his ninth home run of the year, a solo shot, to left field, and was followed three batters later by Chandler Taylor, as the left-hander lofted a two-run shot to right field for his third of the season, and his first since returning from the Injured List. Taylor finished his day by going 3-for-5 with a pair of singles, his home run, and three runs scored. Wrapping up their offense in the sixth inning, Bryan De La Cruz led off the frame with a double to right field, and quickly came home when Colton Shaver doubled in the same spot, bringing home the eighth, and final, run.
Making his first start for Fayetteville since being promoted, Jojanse Torres needed more pitches than expected to toss a handful of scoreless frames. Torres needed a career-high 85 pitches to work through the four innings, as the right-hander matched a career-high with four walks. While it may have taken time, Torres never allowed a runner past second base. Being lifted after the fourth inning, Jojanse was not eligible for the win, as Luis Garcia took over for Fayetteville. A new callup from Single-A Quad Cities, Garcia (W, 1-0) held Wilmington to the same lines that Torres had. Luis walked three batters over three scoreless frames while fanning six. Taking on the eighth inning, Jacob Billingsley was unable to maintain the shutout, as he surrendered a leadoff double to Seuly Matias, followed by a wild pitch and a groundout. With the lead cut to seven, Fayetteville elected to save the rest of their bullpen. Placing their first position player on the mound in franchise history, Miguelangel Sierra walked the leadoff batter in the ninth inning, but he put out the next three batters to wrap up the win for Fayetteville.
Opening the series with a win, Fayetteville snaps a stretch of nine consecutive losses in series openers. Moving to 26-33 on the season, Fayetteville will try to take their third straight match against Wilmington after winning the finale of their previous series. Chad Donato will climb the hill for Fayetteville at Frawley Stadium on Friday, with first pitch for the contest scheduled for 6:35PM.
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.