The Fayetteville Woodpeckers took a 2-0 lead over the Winston Salem Dash in the second inning thanks to a two-run moonshot from Scott Manea. The Woodpeckers pitching tandem of Nivaldo Rodriguez and Austin Hansen (2-1) did not surrender a run until the top of the eighth inning, when Evan Skoug launched two-run homer of his own that evened the score at two apiece. Behind an RBI single from Miguelangel Sierra, Fayetteville regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth and held on in the top of the ninth thanks to shutout frame on the mound from Hansen. The Woodpeckers hurler was lights out in Fayetteville's 3-2 victory, striking out six batters, including catching the last four looking.
Woodpeckers starter Nivaldo Rodriguez started the game by sending the top of the order packing in a three up, three down top of the first inning. The Fayetteville offense tried to add some cushion in the bottom of the first, with Jacob Meyers knocking a two-out double but Jake Adams smacked a line out into the glove of Zach Remillard that ended the inning. Rodriguez kept the Dash scoreless by retiring Winston-Salem in order yet again in the second inning, but this time the offense backed up their starting hurler with some runs in the bottom of the frame. Against Dash starter Kade McClure, Enmanuel Valdez drew a leadoff walk but then was called out after trying to swipe second on a Miguelangel Sierra strikeout in which the batter interfered with the attempted pick off throw. That put two away for Ross Adolph who drew a base on balls to start his Segra Stadium debut. The recent Quad Cities' call up did not hang out at first for long as Scott Manea launched a ball over the left field wall on the first pitch McClure offered. The bomb was the sixth of the year for the Fayetteville catcher and quickly gave the Woodpeckers a 2-0 lead after two innings of play.
Rodriguez finally gave up a hit in the third inning after the Dash laced back-to-back singles to start the frame off the bats of JJ Muno and Tyler Blackman. Evan Skoug finally flew out to Ross Adolph for the first out of the frame and the Woodpeckers left fielder made it a twin killing by using his arm to throw out Muno trying to take third. It was the tenth outfield assist of the year for Fayetteville and quickly put two away for Rodriguez who then fanned Tyler Frost to end another shutout inning. In the bottom of the third Fayetteville's leadoff hitter Jeremy Pena started by roping a single off McClure. Michael Papierski grounded out, moving Pena to second and Jacob Meyers followed by looping a base hit of his own putting runners at the corners for the Woodpeckers. However the Dash starting pitcher settled in and retired both Jake Adams and Enmanuel Valdez to end the inning with both runners stranded.
Still on the mound in the top of the fifth, Rodriguez surrendered a one out double to JJ Muno but ended his outing by adding a backwards K against Tate Blackman and forcing Evan Skoug into a 1-3 putout. Rodriguez pitched five innings of shutout ball against Winston-Salem, striking out six and giving up just three hits. The Woodpeckers' starter tied a franchise record on the evening as well, now having thrown 12 straight scoreless innings in his past three outings combined. In the top of the sixth with the Woodpeckers still up just 2-0 Fayetteville made a pitching change, sending out Austin Hansen to finish out the contest. In the back end of the tandem Hansen retired the first six batters he faced, finally walking JJ Muno to start the top of the eighth. Hansen sent down Tate Blackmen to put one away, but Evan Skoug stepped into the box and crushed a homer to right center field. It was the fifth homer of the year for the Dash catcher and suddenly the game was all knotted up at two. Hansen did not get too rattled, catching both Tyler Frost and Mitch Roman looking to end the frame and make it a tie game heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Against Winston-Salem reliever Jose Nin (3-3) Jacob Meyers popped up in foul territory for out number one in the eighth as the Woodpeckers offense was still looking to tally for the first time since since the two-run homer from Manea in the second inning. Jake Adams kicked things off by slicing his first hit of the game to put the go ahead run on for Fayetteville. Enmanuel Valdez flew out to right field for out number two, however Adams swiped second and then advanced to third on an E2 that sailed over the head of Winston-Salem's Tate Blackmen. That put Miguelangel Sierra in prime position for his 28th RBI, with the Fayetteville shortstop smacking a single that drove in Jake Adams and put the Woodpeckers up once again.
With an ever so slight 3-2 lead, Fayetteville leaned on Austin Hansen to get the final three outs in the top of the ninth. The Woodpeckers pitcher got a little unlucky as Jameson Fisher reached on the first at bat in the frame after Ross Adolph dropped a ball in left field. With the tying run in scoring position Zach Remillard grounded out and Hansen fanned Craig Dedelow to put two away. Jordan George drew a base on balls to now put the go ahead runner on the base paths, but Hansen locked in striking out JJ Muno to give the Woodpeckers the 3-2 victory.
Fayetteville moves to .500 in the second half, holding a 10-10 so far. Meanwhile the Dash move to 9-12 in the second half, sitting in last place in the South Division. The Woodpeckers still trail Winston-Salem 6-5 in the season series, but have a chance to even the score tomorrow. Game two of a three game tilt is set for tomorrow with Cody Deason making his debut on the mound for Fayetteville. First pitch is set for 7:00pm from Segra Stadium.
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.