The Fayetteville Woodpeckers swept their sixth opponent of the year with a series finale win over the Carolina Mudcats at Segra Stadium. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Woodpeckers bats exploded to tack on five runs and take a lead they'd never waiver. Jeremy Pena launched a solo shot and Scott Manea smashed a three RBI double to propel the Fayetteville rally. Leovanny Rodriguez earned the win on the mound, keeping the Woodpeckers in control by tossing three scoreless innings in relief and allowing just one hit in his relief appearance. With the 7-2 Sunday night victory over Carolina, the Woodpeckers finished off this week's home stand by winning five-of-six.
Austin Hansen started the night by facing the minimum in the first inning including fanning Mudcats' slugger Brice Turang. In the bottom of the frame Jeremy Pena knocked a leadoff double against Carolina starter Matt Hardy (7-2), moving to third on a groundout. However Hardy locked in and retired the next three batters he faced to leave the go ahead runner stranded. In the top of the second, the Mudcats got on the board against Hansen as Mario Feliciano kicked things off by knocking a leadoff single. The Fayetteville hurler struck out Eddie Silva, but then allowed another single to Wes Rodgers. Felicano came home on the third base hit of the inning, off the bat of Zach Clark making it 1-0 Carolina after just an inning and a half of play.
Neither team would score a run against the starting pitchers until the bottom of the fifth, as prior to that fifth frame the Woodpeckers had only sliced three hits off Hardy. The Mudcats starter forced a groundout right away to Enmanuel Valdez, to put one away in the bottom of the fifth and to ensure the longest outing of Hardy's career. However the Woodpeckers then ensured that the rest of his outing would not go smoothly as Jeremy Pena immediately launched a solo shot over the wall in left center. The homer was the 2nd with the Woodpeckers for Pena and knotted the game at one apiece with one crack of the bat. Jonathan Arauz and Jacob Meyers followed by roping back-to-back singles and moved to second and third on a 1-3 putout hit into by Corey Julks. With now two gone, the Mudcats lifted Hardy and sent out Cody Beckmen to face Chandler Taylor who drew a walk to load the bases for Ross Adolph. The Woodpeckers' outfielder followed by drawing a base on balls of his own, to bring home Fayetteville's go ahead run in Arauz. It was the fifth RBI with the Woodpeckers for Adolph and the second bases loaded walk he's forced in this six game home stand. With the bases still full, Scott Manea crushed a line drive off the wall in right field, driving all three runners home on the massive double for Fayetteville's catcher. That two-bagger moved Manea's RBI total to 35 on the year and also gave the Woodpeckers a 5-1 lead. Miguelangel Sierra ended the inning by striking out for Beckman's lone out, but the damage was done and Fayetteville took a four run lead.
Leovanny Rodriguez (6-2) entered the game in the top of the fifth, pitching a scoreless frame and then of course got some cushion thanks to the Woodpecker's five run second half of the frame. In the top of the sixth Rodriguez retired the first two batters he faced, but then gave up a laced single to Wes Rodgers. That would be the only hit allowed by the Fayetteville reliever in his three innings of work, getting out of the frame thanks to a Zach Clark fly out. In the top of the seventh Rodriguez sent down the Mudcats in order to finish his night having faced just one over the minimum on the night. In the top of the eighth Fayetteville made a pitching change, sending out Nivaldo Rodriguez for the final two frames. Carolina's Ryan Aguilar chopped into a groundout for a quick out number one by Fayetteville's bullpen arm. Still, Tristen Lutz and Mario Feliciano hit back-to-back singles off Rodriguez and Lutz scored thanks to a two-bagger from Eddie Silva. The tally notched RBI number 40 for Silva and chipped the Fayetevill lead to three runs. After the double Rodriguez settled in, stringing together two backwards Ks to end the top of the eighth.
The Woodpeckers tallied another two scores in the bottom of the eighth, after Miguelangel Sierra and Enmanuel Valdez reached on a single and a walk respectively. Jake Adams, replacing Jeremy Pena in the lineup, got clipped with a pitch to load the bases for Jonathan Aruaz. The Fayetteville infielder launched a ball into right field caught by Tristen Lutz, but Sierra was able to tag up and score on the sac fly. An E1 from the pitcher Anthony Bender who had cut off a throw from the outfield also allowed Enmanuel Valdez to score making it 7-2 Woodpeckers after eight innings of play.
Nivaldo Rodriguez struck out two batters, in the top of the ninth before giving up a walk to Brice Turang. The runner did not matter as Aguilar sliced into a groundout to end the game and give the Woodpeckers a five run victory at Segra Stadium. Fayetteville moves to 20-18 in the second half and are still tied for the second in the South Division. Carolina drops to 16-22 in the second half and loses their sixth straight. The league has a scheduled day off tomorrow, but the Woodpeckers are back in action Tuesday on the road in Wilmington. First pitch from Delaware is 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.