The downward spiral only seems to continue, as the Fayetteville Woodpeckers were dealt their third walk off loss in as many days, this time at the hands of the Lynchburg Hillcats at City Stadium in Virginia, 5-4. Fayetteville once again surrendered an early lead, plating two runs over the first two innings, and collecting a solo home run by Enmanuel Valdez in the fourth, only to see it lost when Chad Donato surrendered three runs in the fifth inning. While Fayetteville rallied briefly to tie the game in the ninth inning, the Hillcats brought the winning run home before a single out was recorded in the bottom of the frame.
Just as they had in each of the prior two contests, Fayetteville struck first by reading the plate early against Lynchburg starter Justin Garza. Garza walked a pair, and one came home to score on a throwing error by the Garza on an attempted pickoff that ricocheted into right field. That lead for the Woodpeckers would not last an inning, however, as Chad Donato quickly allowed a triple and an RBI base hit by Oscar Gonzalez in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at one.
Entering the second inning, the Woodpeckers were quick to retake the lead for Donato. Enmanuel Valdez drew a one-out walk, and he raced to third base a batter later when Michael Papierski singled to right field, opening an easy opportunity to score from third on a sacrifice fly from Alfredo Angarita. As Donato settled for the next few frames, Valdez was able to eventually add to the lead by smacking a solo home run to right field, his first with Fayetteville.
With the Woodpeckers up 3-1 entering the fifth inning, Donato was only able to record one out before allowing five consecutive batters to reach safely as Lynchburg tied the game on a 2-RBI single by Gabreil Mejia. As Donato surrendered another base hit and a walk to load the bases, he was lifted for Tommy DeJuneas, but DuJuneas was unable to escape the frame before he allowed an inherited runner to score when Oscar Gonzalez hit into a fielder's choice at third base, giving Lynchburg the lead.
Now working ahead, Lynchburg turned to southpaw Yapson Gomez out of the bullpen, and the lefty quieted the bats for Fayetteville over three strong frames. Gomez allowed only one base hit and struck out six batters across his outing to earn a hold. As Gomez departed, Fayetteville was able to take a crack at Dakody Clemmer. Clemmer (W, 2-0) gave up a leadoff single to Michael Papierski to open the ninth inning. As Papierski advanced on a sacrifice and Clemmer recorded a strikeout, Fayetteville was down to their final out when Jonathan Arauz snuck a base hit into right-center field to score Papierski and tie the game.
Relieving DeJuneas earlier in the eighth inning, Tanner Duncan was needed to guide the Woodpeckers into extra innings. Duncan (L, 0-2) was unable to record an out in the bottom of the ninth, as the right-hander allowed a base hit, a walk, and the game-ending RBI single by Nolan Jones. It's the second time this season Duncan has allowed a walk off run to score, doing so on May 11th when Fayetteville was walked off by Frederick.
As Fayetteville (21-27) drops their third consecutive game in walk off fashion, they have also lost their last seven series openers. The Woodpeckers will square off with Lynchburg (24-22) for the second game in their four-game series on Saturday, when Yohan Ramirez climbs the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00PM.
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.