The Woodpeckers struck first thanks to two homers in the second inning from Michael Papierski and Ramiro Rodriguez that put Fayetteville up 4-0 with two swings. JP France and Jojanse Torres combined for fifteen strikeouts on the mound for Fayetteville, pitching seven perfect innings combined and allowing just four baserunners
The Woodpeckers struck first thanks to two homers in the second inning from Michael Papierski and Ramiro Rodriguez that put Fayetteville up 4-0 with two swings. JP France and Jojanse Torres combined for fifteen strikeouts on the mound for Fayetteville, pitching seven perfect innings combined and allowing just four baserunners in the Thirsty Thursday showdown. Torres dazzled in relief breaking a franchise record with nine Ks out of the bullpen in the Woodpeckers 5-2 win at home.
The 'Peckers went three up, three down in the bottom of the first inning, but the the offense found its groove in the second frame. Blue Rocks starter Marcelo Martinez (3-2) forced Jake Adams to fly out in shallow center field for out number one, but the Woodpeckers followed by earning their first baserunner of the game thanks to a walk from Marty Costes. An unphased Martinez got the second out of the inning after Scott Manea popped up in foul territory. With two gone the Woodpeckers notched four straight hits to tally four runs in the frame. Michael Papierski started the offensive production for Fayetteville with Costes still standing at first, smoking a two- run shot over the left field wall. The homer was the second on the year for the Woodpecker's catcher and secured an early 2-0 lead. Miguelangel Sierra followed by smacking a base hit and then came home after Ramiro Rodriguez smashed a home run of his own that tacked on two more and made it 4-0 Fayetteville. Rodriguez continued his stellar start in a Fayetteville uniform in which he reached base in his first four at bats, including three hits.
Fayetteville starter JP France (1-4) faced the minimum in the first three frames, not surrendering a baserunner to the Blue Rocks. The top of the fourth inning saw the Wilmington offense find some life, kicked off by a walk drawn by left fielder Brewer Hicklen. Still JP France managed to get two outs before he faced Dennicher Carrasco, but the Wilmington slugger went yard for a two-run bomb that scored Hicklen and cut the Woodpeckers lead in half. France ended the inning by fanning MJ Melendez for his fifth strikeout of the game, preserving the Woodpeckers lead. The Fayetteville starter got revenge in the fifth, by retiring all three batters he faced, finishing his outing having pitched five frames of one hit ball, allowing two runs and striking out six.
The Woodpeckers made the call to the bullpen to start the top of sixth, looking to hold on to a 4-2 lead. Jojanse Torres made his Segra Stadium debut in spectacular fashion, striking out the side in order to end the inning. Leading off the top of the seventh Nick Pratto laced an infield single towards second base for just the fourth Wilmington baserunner of the game. The Blue Rocks' first basemen swiped second to become the only Wilmington player on the night to get in scoring position. Pratto however was left stranded after Torres sent away the next three Wilmington hitters in order.
Fayetteville tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, as once again the action came with two gone already in the frame. Wilmington reliever Josh Mitchell struck out back-to-back batters in Jonathan Arauz and Colton Shaver, but Jake Adams sliced a double to put a runner in scoring position for Fayetteville. This ended a drought for the Woodpeckers in which they had not smacked a hit out of the infield since Jacob Meyers' base hit in the second. Marty Costes knocked his third RBI in four games with a single up the middle that brought home Adams and made it 5-2 'Peckers heading into the top of the 9th.
After the seventh Fayetteville's Torres completely locked in retiring all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth, including five straight strikeouts to end the game and cement a 5-2 'Peckers victory. In just his second appearance with the Woodpeckers the righty set a record for Ks in relief, getting nine Wilmington players to bat the breeze while also earning the save. The game two victory evens the series at one apiece between Fayetteville and Wilmington. The Woodpeckers are now 24-29 on the year while the Blue Rocks still boast a South Division best 33-20 record. Game three is scheduled 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 [email protected].