The Fayetteville Woodpeckers pulled off a victory in exciting fashion in the series finale with the Frederick Keys on Sunday night. Parker Mushinski pitched a perfect game into the sixth inning, but a big seven run frame for the Keys in the top of the seventh put Frederick in the driver's seat. Fayetteville would not go away quietly launching its third successful late inning rally against Keys this year in the bottom of the eighth. The Woodpeckers poured on six runs, highlighted by a three RBI double from Chandler Taylor, to claim a 9-7 victory over the Keys.
Parker Mushinski started his phenomenal day on the mound, by sending the Keys down in order in the top of the first. The Fayetteville offense gave their hurler some cushion in the bottom of the frame, tacking on two runs against Frederick pitcher Luis Perez. Jeremy Pena kicked things off with a single up the middle, then Cal Stevenson following with a walk. Ross Adolph replaced Stevenson on a fielder's choice for out number one, but Pena did manage to score thanks to an RBI single off Chandler Taylor's bat. David Hensley knocked an RBI base hit of his own that brought home Adolph to make it 2-0 Woodpeckers after one inning of play. Fayetteville extended their lead in the bottom of the second, adding another score against Perez thanks to a pair of singles. With one away Enmanuel Valdez sliced a base hit to right field, scoring when Pena roped a base hit of his own. It was Pena's 12th RBI with the Woodpeckers and put Fayetteville up three runs just two frames in.
That score would remain the same until the seventh inning, with Parker Mushinski tossing a near perfect game. The Fayetteville pitcher retired sixteen straight but saw his no hitter broken up when Chris Clare singled up the first base line to become the first Keys baserunner. Mushinski was not rattled striking out the next two batters he faced to leave Clare stranded and keep the shutout going. That all changed in the top of the seventh when Frederick sent twelve to the plate and chased the Woodpeckers starter out of the game. Sean Miller immediately knocked a single off of Mushinski, followed by a two bagger from Robert Neustrom to put a pair in scoring position for the first time. JC Escarra stepped up to the plate and crushed a double to right that brought home both Miller and Neustrom to not only put the Keys on the board but with in one of the Woodpeckers. That prompted Fayetteville to make a pitching change, sending out Humberto Castellanos, who immediately walked Ben Breazeale with still nobody out. With two on the Woodpeckers new arm finally got the first out when he struck out Will Robertson. However the next batter in, Daniel Fajardo knocked home Escarra on a single to left field that suddenly tied the game. The Keys weren't done scoring, taking the lead after Chris Clare chopped a ball to third that David Hensley misplayed. Cole Billingsley's groundout tacked on an insurance run and then Sean Miller singled for the second time in the inning, scoring Clare with Ortega also coming home when Jeremy Pena and Enmanuel Valdez collided in the infield. Two batters later Castellanos finally ended the inning by the huge frame saw Frederick pile on seven runs and go up four.
Fayetteville's Cionel Perez (1-0) made his Segra Stadium debut on the mound, pitching a scoreless top of the eighth to keep the score 7-3 Keys heading into the bottom of the frame. In need of a rally the Woodpeckers did just that, starting with a single laced to right from Michael Papierski. Scott Manea got clipped with his 21st pitch this year and second of the night to put two on for Fayetteville. After Miguelangel Sierra struck out, the Keys made a pitching change sending out Reed Hayes (1-3) to try and get the next two outs. The Woodpeckers had different plans with Scott Schreiber slicing a double just barely fair in right field that scored Papierski. Jeremy. Pena loaded the bases on a walk and then Cal Stevenson earned an RBI when he scored Manea off a ball that bounced of the glove of JC Escarra at first. Ross Adolph got hit with his second pitch of the night to drive in another run and put Fayetteville within one. With the bases still loaded Chandler Taylor smoked a ball off the wall in right center that brought home all three runners and gave the Woodpeckers the lead back. That meant Fayetteville just needed to get three more outs in the top of the ninth to solidify the victory. Perez shutout the Keys successfully in the frame, securing a 9-7 come from behind Woodpeckers victory.
Fayetteville is now 65-65 on the year while the Keys drop to 51-77, currently the Woodpeckers hold second place in the South Division which means they're in line for a playoff spot. Fayetteville moves on to Carolina for their second to last series of the regular season. Game one of a four game tilt in Zebulon is scheduled for 7:00pm tomorrow.
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.