Another lengthy pitching matchup once again fell in Fayetteville's favor on Saturday night, as the Woodpeckers once again knocked off the Winston-Salem Dash to win the three-game road series at BB&T Ballpark. Fayetteville scored five runs after the fifth inning, and that turned out to be just enough, as a three-run home run from Tate Blackman in the bottom of the ninth inning sent a jolt through Fayetteville before they were able to escape with a 5-4 win.
Offensively, each side came up scoreless over their first three innings, but the contest slid along at a snail's pace. Dash starter Jonathan Stiever strained through nearly 80 pitches in just three innings. While the right-hander worked through the enormous number of offerings, he still never allowed a Woodpecker to cross home plate. After Stiever stranded the bases loaded in the third inning, he had to be lifted from the game due to the high pitch count. The Dash followed Stiever with lefty reliever Bennett Sousa, who allowed a leadoff double in his first inning of work, but he retired the following six batters he faced, making time for Winston-Salem to take a brief lead. Working on shorter rest, Sousa (L, 1-2) walked a batter and allowed a pair of hits in the sixth inning before needing to be lifted. Against right-hander Jake Elliot, Fayetteville was able to tie the game on a sacrifice fly, and they would push ahead on an RBI single by Ruben Castro.
Fayetteville continued to strike Elliot before the stretch, as they once again loaded the bases thanks to an error, a walk, and another single. Chandler Taylor sacrificed to right field to plate one run, a wild pitch brought home another, and a single by Enmanuel Valdez brought home a third. Valdez's single turned to be the final base hit for Fayetteville, as reliever Will Kincanon tossed a pair of scoreless frames to end the night.
Just as Fayetteville had gone quietly to start, Winston-Salem did the same against Cody Deason. On a very high-quality stretch over his last three appearances, Deason (W, 2-2) only allowed a pair of base hits over three scoreless innings to open the night. In the fourth inning, Craig Dedelow bounced a ball up the first base line that came to a stop underneath the bench of the Winston-Salem bullpen, allowing him to reach third base. Two batters later, Jameson Fischer hit a similar ball in the opposite direction the wound up a double, giving Winston-Salem a 1-0 lead at the same time.
After Fayetteville took the lead in the sixth inning, Tanner Duncan tossed a scoreless frame to bridge the gap into a tandem outing for Austin Hansen. Hansen dismantled the Dash offense into the ninth inning, striking out six batters and only allowing two baserunners until the final out of the game. Still leading 5-1, Winston-Salem suddenly picked up on the breaking pitches Hansen threw, and quickly drew a pair of walks to put Hansen in trouble. The danger only intensified when Hansen allowed a three-run home run to Tate Blackman, cutting the lead to just one run. When Hansen walked JJ Muno on four pitches, Hansen needed to be lifted when a game-winning run was suddenly in play. Riley Cabral (SV, 2) took over to clean up after Hansen, and forced a groundout to end the game.
Fayetteville has now won five consecutive games at BB&T Ballpark, and they push ahead in the season series with the Dash, winning eight of the 15 meetings in 2019. Coupled with another Myrtle Beach loss, Fayetteville now holds a two-game lead in the second half playoff hunt. The Woodpeckers will have the chance to sweep the three-game tilt and win the season series with Winston-Salem in the same breath on Sunday, when Jojanse Torres steps on the hill. First pitch from BB&T Ballpark is scheduled for 2:00PM.
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.