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Solo Shots Lift Woodpeckers to Victory Over Mudcats

Valdez, Taylor Smack Bombs to Win Series Against Carolina
July 27, 2019

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers won their second straight contest against the Carolina Mudcats in a Saturday night showdown at Segra Stadium. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth the Woodpeckers launched a rally, tying the game thanks to RBI singles off the bats of Jeremy Pena and Jonathan Arauz. Enmanuel

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers won their second straight contest against the Carolina Mudcats in a Saturday night showdown at Segra Stadium. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth the Woodpeckers launched a rally, tying the game thanks to RBI singles off the bats of Jeremy Pena and Jonathan Arauz. Enmanuel Valdez smashed a solo shot to right field to finally give Fayetteville a lead and Chandler Taylor followed in the next frame with a solo home run of his own to give Fayetteville some insurance. Joey Gonzalez and Cesar Rosado combined to pitch four scoreless innings in relief for the Woodpeckers to cement a 4-2 Fayetteville win. 

Brice Turang started the second straight game by drawing a leadoff walk against a Woodpeckers pitcher, this time against Fayetteville starter Shawn Dubin. The Woodpeckers hurler then struck out Ryan Aguilar but followed by giving up another free pass to Tristen Lutz. Turang moved along by swiping second on his own and then third on a double steal with Lutz who moved to second. Dubin struck out Mario Feliciano to put two away in the top of the first, but a wild pitch with Payton Henry at the plate allowed for Turang to rush home and score. Carolina did not actually smack any hits to make it 1-0 Carolina, the frame ending when Henry eventually fanned as well. Jeremy Pena sliced a leadoff single for the Fayetteville offense in the bottom of the first and moved to second on an E7. However Mudcats starter Matt Smith locked in and retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning and preserve the Carolina lead.  
Both offenses were halted in the second and the third with Dubin facing one over the minimum in the two frames and Smith retiring nine straight until the bottom of the fourth. In the top of the fourth Mario Feliciano laced a leadoff single against Dubin that Payton Henry followed with a base hit of his own, moving Feliciano to third. The next batter, Eddie Silva, knocked a grounder to Jonathan Arauz at shortstop which the infielder misplayed allowing for Silva to reach first safely and Feliciano to score another run. The tally made it 2-0 Carolina and put runners at the corners with no outs. Pat McInerney laced a single off Dubin to load the bases, but the Fayetteville starter got the first out in an exciting fashion by sniffing out a Devin Hairston's swinging bunt, sprinting in, and under handing to Michael Papierski to beat out Henry racing home. Dubin then strung together two backwards Ks to limit the damage and send the Woodpeckers down two into the bottom of the fourth.  
Fayetteville in need of a rally looked to be in a good spot when Jonathan Arauz led things off with a base hit up the middle. Jake Adams also laced a single with one away, allowing for Arauz to move to third. With now two outs and Ross Adolph at the plate Arauz and Chandler Taylor attempted a double steal of home. Taylor took off first and Henry made a throw to short stop Turang in attempt the stop the runner. With the initial pickoff unsuccessful Turang zipped it back to Henry who collided with Arauz right before he could cross home to end the inning and stop a run from scoring for Fayetteville.  
Shawn Dubin finished his final frame by sending the Mudcats down in order including two fans versus Tristen Lutz and Mario Feliciano. The two Ks solidified Dubin tied a career high in strikeouts, tossing nine total against Carolina through five innings of work. The Fayetteville bats got going in the bottom of the fifth, as Scott Manea drew a two out walk against Smith to put a runner on the base paths for the Woodpeckers. Enmanuel Valdez sent Manea to third with a single and the run game home thanks to an RBI base hit from Jeremy Pena. The run was the 10th RBI Pena has notched with Fayetteville this year and also cut the Carolina lead to just one. Arauz continued the string of knocks, smoking a base hit up the middle that brought home Valdez and knotted the game at two apiece. Pena moved to third on the hit as well but was left stranded after the Mudcats bullpen arm Michael Peterson struck out Corey Julks, the lone batter he faced, to end inning. Joey Gonzalez (1-1) entered the game in the top of the sixth and faced just one over the minimum in three innings of work. The Stetson product allowed just one hit off the bat of Turang in the top of the seventh inning and only one other baserunner after a walk to Lutz in the top of the eighth. Neither came home as Gonzalez pitched a trio of scoreless frames in relief for the Woodpeckers.  
With the game still knotted at two apiece in the bottom of the seventh JT Hintzen (0-1) took the mound as the second reliever for the Mudcats. Hintzen got one out in the game when Scott Manea flew out to right center, but then Enmaneul Valdez stepped to the plate and crushed a bomb over the right field wall. The shot was the fourth of the season for Valdez and gave the Woodpeckers a 3-2 lead with one crack of the bat. Fayetteville could not tack on anymore in the seventh, however in the bottom of the eighth Chandler Taylor notched an insurance score with two outs. The Woodpeckers slugger went yard on Carolina reliever Robbie Hitt for his sixth homer of the year, making it 4-2 Fayetteville heading into the top of the ninth. Cesar Rosado pitched a shutout final frame out of the bullpen for the Woodpeckers, striking out three batters to give the Woodpeckers a two-run victory over the Mudcats. 
The win gave Fayetteville a two-to-nothing lead in the three game series and also moved the Woodpeckers to 19-18 in the second half. With the win and the Myrtle Beach loss Fayetteville is now in line for a playoff spot in the South Division. The Mudcats are now 16-21 in the second half, having dropped their last five games in a row. The Woodpeckers have a chance to sweep the series tomorrow in the finale at Segra Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:00pm.
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 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].