The Fayetteville Woodpeckers fell once again at home thanks to back-to-back home runs in the first inning from the Winston-Salem Dash. A solo shot from Jordan George and a grand slam from JJ Muno accounted for the majority of the six runs piled on by the Dash in the first frame. Woodpeckers' slugger Marty Costes crushed a three-run homer to cut to three in the bottom of the first and once again the Woodpeckers had the tying run on the base paths in the bottom of the ninth. Fayetteville could not complete the comeback and for the third straight night the Woodpeckers fell at the hands of the Dash, losing 7-5 in the Tuesday night series finale.
The Dash came out red hot to start the game to take control and notch six runs in the top of the first. Fayetteville starter JP France (1-5) struck out Tyler Frost right away, earning out number one. Then the Dash strung together a series of base runners, starting with Zach Remillard smacking a single and then moving to second because of a throwing error from France on the mound. The Woodpeckers hurler continued to struggle walking Steele Walker and loaded the bases on a base-hit from Jameson Fisher. France earned the second out of the frame with another strikeout, this time to Craig Dedelow. Two away was not an issue for the Dash, who scored the first run of the game after Colton Shaver could not corral a ball at first base, allowing everyone to move along safely and Remillard to score. With the bases still loaded, JJ Muno stepped up to the plate and smoked a grand slam over the right field wall, the first grand slam given up by Woodpeckers pitching this year. Muno not only made it 5-0 with one smack, he crushed his second homer in as many days and his third homer in the last 21 at bats. The Woodpeckers decided to make a pitching change to get the final out of the frame, bringing in Tanner Duncan out of the bullpen. The first pitch thrown by the Woodpeckers reliever flew out of the park, after Jordan George added a solo shot of his own right away to make it 6-0. It was the first time this year a team has smashed back-to-back home runs in a Woodpeckers game. Duncan finally settled in fanning Yeyson Yrizarri to finish the disastrous inning in which all nine Winston-Salem patters stepped up to the plate and six total runs came home.
With a lot of work to do the Fayetteville offense started the bottom of the first with a baserunner thanks to a leadoff walk from Bryan De La Cruz against Dash starter John Parke (3-2). Jacob Meyers grounded into a fielder's choice that forced De La Cruz out, followed by a walk drawn by Colton Shaver. The patience at the plate by Shaver put two runners on for Marty Costes who sliced his first home run in a Woodpeckers uniform to cut the Dash lead in half making it 6-3. Parke ended the potential rally getting Chandler Taylor to bat the breeze to end the first inning.
Tanner Duncan continued to to pitch a solid unexpected relief appearance, lasting two and 2/3 innings, the longest outing for Duncan this year. In the top of the fourth though, Winston-Salem's Muno opened the frame by smashing a triple to the wall in right center field. Muno came home on Jordan George's at bat, after Duncan lost control of a pitch, sailing it over the head of Woodpeckers' catcher Scott Manea allowing the run to sprint in. George ended up drawing a walk but was forced out on a fielder's choice hit Yrizarri hit into. The next Dash batter in Tyler Frost laced one up the line to Colton Shaver but the 'Peckers first basemen could not glove it, moving everyone along and letting Frost reach the bag. With two runners on, the Woodpeckers made their second call to the bullpen on the night tasking Leovanny Rodriguez with taking over on the mound. Rodriguez quickly got the second out of the frame, as Zach Remillard flew out to center, however the Woodpeckers reliever clipped Steele Walker to load the bases on the next at bat. Fayetteville got out of the jam with limited damage after Jameson Fisher grounded into a 1-3 putout that ended the frame with Winston-Salem stranding three but still tacking on another run to make it 7-3 Dash.
The Woodpeckers could not get another hit against Dash starter Parke until the the fifth inning and did not score another run until the top of the 6th. With one already gone in the top of that frame, Marty Costes singled on a chopper to shortstop Remmillard, followed by a Chandler Taylor base-hit to right field that moved Costes to second. That ended the day for Parke, as Vince Arobio came in to relieve the Winston-Salem starter. The Dash reliever immediately gave up RBI single to Scott Manea that dropped in right field and gave Costes enough time to round the bases. It was Manea's 20th RBI of the year, as the score cut the Dash lead to 7-4. Arobio fanned both Sierra and Valdez leaving Taylor and Manea stranded to end the frame.
Woodpeckers relievers Leovanny Rodriguez and Cesar Rosado combined for the final 5 and 2/3 innings of play, allowing just four hits and shutting out the Dash. It was still 7-4 in the bottom ninth, so the Woodpeckers were need of a big rally at home. For the fourth night in a row the 'Peckers got the tying run in scoring position. The Woodpeckers drew four straight one out walks against two different Dash relievers in Luis Ledo and Jose Nin to bring home Enmanuel Valdez and put Fayetteville within a pair. Nin however sent down the next two batters on strikes to end the game and secure the 7-5 Winston-Salem victory.
The Woodpeckers now 6-30 in contests in which they trail at any point, while they're overall record drops to 25-33 after the sweep. Winston-Salem on the other hand moves to 33-24 and now holds a 5-1 record against Fayetteville this year. The 'Peckers get a much needed day off tomorrow and then head to Wilmington for a four game tilt starting Thursday.
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.