For the second consecutive night, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers bullpen was unable to hold a late-game lead, and eventually fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks by a 5-3 final. Fayetteville launched three solo home runs over the course of the afternoon, But Wilmington only needed two hits to drive in all five of their runs. A bases loaded double in the eighth inning gave Wilmington the series win, as they wrapped up the four-game tilt by serving Fayetteville three straight losses.
On the gusty afternoon in Delaware, Fayetteville took as little time as possible to take an early lead. Bryan De La Cruz took the first pitch of the game, a high fastball from Marcelo Martinez, directly to the Wilmington bullpen in left field. The solo home run was the fourth of the season for De La Cruz. After the lead was lost in the second inning, Fayetteville launched another pair of baseballs into that bullpen. Marty Costes floated one into the win to tie the game up at two in the fourth inning. Michael Papierski followed two innings later with line drive shot in the exact same spot. In only two starts against Fayetteville, Martinez has allowed five home runs, and two to Papierski.
After logging his first win of the season against Wilmington just over a week ago, JP France ground his way in for his second quality start of the season. The Louisiana native tossed a perfect first inning while holding the early lead for Fayetteville, but he surrendered a pair of runs in the second inning from a pair of leadoff baserunners, a wild pitch, and a 2-RBI single by Sebastian Rivero. The lead was only lost briefly before the solo home runs put France back ahead. Already 70 pitches deep on his day through five innings, France was tasked to try for a sixth frame to keep Fayetteville ahead. Needing a strong handful of tosses to work through the frame, France was able to log the scoreless sixth, only the second time in his career he has gone through six innings, this time in line for a win.
Just as they had last night, Fayetteville needed to rely on their bullpen to hold a slim 3-2 lead. Cesar Rosado answered the call early by spinning a perfect seventh inning, but the right-hander hit a snag in the eighth inning. After striking out the first batter of the frame, Rosado allowed a single and walked a pair of batters. With no room for error, Fayetteville turned to Leovanny Rodriguez to hold the line. Leovanny struck out the first batter he faced on a tense, full-count slider just outside of the zone to pick up the second out of the frame. Down to the final out of the frame, Wilmington catcher MJ Melendez drilled a ball over the head of Marty Costes in left field to ultimately sink Fayetteville. The double for Melendez cleared the bases, with all runs charged to Rosado (L, 2-1) and gave Wilmington a 5-3 lead.
Across their pursuit to garner any more offense against the Blue Rocks outside of the three solo home runs, Fayetteville once again came up short against a pair of relievers. CJ Eldred (W, 1-0) allowed a trio of base hits over two frames, but never let a runner reach third base. After squandering the lead in the eighth inning, the Woodpeckers offense failed to gain any momentum against Robert Garcia (S, 1) to follow, only managing one baserunner in the ninth inning before falling.
With the loss, Fayetteville falls to a season-worst 10-games below .500 on the season, at 26-36. As Wilmington wins the four-game series, Fayetteville will try their hand at a pair of opponents they've not seen since April. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Potomac Nationals will make their way to Segra Stadium, both for the first time this season, as the Woodpeckers wrap up the first half with a seven-game homestand. Nivaldo Rodriguez will start on the mound for Fayetteville in the first game against Myrtle Beach on Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00PM.
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.