After suffering a 5-0 shutout the night prior, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers blanked the Carolina Mudcats in response on Thursday night by the same 5-0 final. Austin Hansen, Cody Deason, and Humberto Castellanos combined to blank the Mudcats, the 14th shutout of the season for the Woodpeckers. A 3RBI day by David Hensley was more than enough to help the Woodpeckers eliminate the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, clinching a playoff berth in their inaugural season.
Once again, Fayetteville got on the board in the first inning, this time against right-hander Nelson Hernandez. After a quick pair of one-out singles, Chandler Taylor drew a key walk to load the bases, and David Hensley flew out to right to give Fayetteville the early lead on the sacrifice. While the Woodpeckers only managed the lone run in the first inning, it would turn out to be enough for Fayetteville behind the strong pitching. After a few quiet innings, the Woodpeckers solidified the lead in the fifth inning by loading the bases on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. Cal Stevenson drove in a pair with a double to right field, and Hesley brought home two more with a double to left. Hensley's double knocked Hernandez (L, 11-10) out of the game, while the Woodpeckers fell silent against a trio of Mudcats relievers, J.T. Hintzen, Robbie Hitt, and Michael Petersen.
Hoping to follow up an outing in which the only baserunner allowed was on an error, Austin Hansen did struggle somewhat early, as the right-hander allowed the first two batters of the game to reach safely. Fortunately, over his 4 1/3 innings of work, Hansen was aided by quality defense on the infield, as Scott Manea and Ruben Castro assisted Hansen in throwing out two baserunners. Manea threw out Brice Turang advancing two bases on a wild pitch in the first inning, and Castro and Manea combined to catch Eddie Silva trying to score on a rundown at first base. Hitting a pitch limit, Hansen was lifted for Cody Deason midway through the fifth inning. Working past the inherited runner, Deason (W, 4-3) went on to strike out four batters over 3 2/3 scoreless frames in the tandem outing. While deason did allow a piar of doubles, the right-hander never allowed a runner to reach third base. Polishing off the shutout, Humberto Castellanos picked up a strikeout in a scoreless ninth inning.
With the win and a Myrtle Beach loss, Fayetteville has officially eliminated all other teams in the South Division, officially clinching their spot in the Carolina League Playoffs. As it is already decided that Fayetteville will face the Down East Wood Ducks in Round One, the Woodpeckers' upcoming five-game series with Down East will serve as an intriguing preview to the playoffs. As Fayetteville sits ½ game ahead of Down East in the second half standings, the winner of the upcoming five game tilt will earn the second half crown outright. First pitch for game one of the set is at 7:00PM on Friday
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.