For the second straight game, the Woodpeckers failed to hold on to a three-run lead in Zebulon, dropping their rubber match with the Carolina Mudcats 5-4. The speedy contest on Education Day featured four home runs, including three from Fayetteville, but a solo shot by Mario Feliciano in the eighth
For the second straight game, the Woodpeckers failed to hold on to a three-run lead in Zebulon, dropping their rubber match with the Carolina Mudcats 5-4. The speedy contest on Education Day featured four home runs, including three from Fayetteville, but a solo shot by Mario Feliciano in the eighth inning grounded the Woodpeckers for the day. As their 14-game roadtrip opening the season finally comes to its conclusion, the Woodpeckers finish it with a respectable 8-6 record.
The start of the day was highlighted by once first-round turned sixth-round draft pick Drew Rasmussen making only his second professional appearance since being drafted last June and recovering from Tommy John surgery. Rasmussen worked wonders with that new UCL in the start, as the right-hander tossed three scoreless frames while facing the minimum. During the brief three inning start, Rasmussen struck out seven batters and lit up the radar gun, hovering around 97 MPH and hitting 98 on a handful of fastballs.
Dared to match Rasmussen on the mound, Yohan Ramirez was nearly as impeccable. Making his third appearance of the year, the righty only allowed two baserunners across four scoreless frames with six strikeouts. The opening act by Ramirez made it possible for Fayetteville to take the lead in the fourth inning. As Rasmussen departed on a strict pitch limit, the Woodpeckers squared up reliever Matt Smith for another piece of history in the early season. Jonathan Arauz and Miguelangel Sierra took Smith yard for the first set of back-to-back home runs in the existence of the franchise to plate three runs.
Just as they had the night prior, however, Fayetteville quickly lost that three-run lead. In the bottom of the same fifth inning, Ramirez walked a pair of batters and was lifted for JP France. France (0-3) was unable to weather the storm. He walked two more batters while allowing a pair of singles, and Fayetteville found themselves trailing by a run when the inning was over.
After the stretch, Fayetteville gave the game one last heave as Bryan De La Cruz mashed his first home run of the year over the left field wall to tie the game at four, and after a double by Colton Shaver in the same frame, Cody Beckman was brought on to keep the Woodpeckers from scoring. Beckman (1-0) logged the only out he needed to close the top half of the eighth.
With JP France still tossing in the eighth inning, a string of nine consecutive Mudcats retired was snapped by Mario Feliciano when the catcher hit his second home run in as many games to give Carolina the lead and, after a scoreless ninth inning by Beckman, the series win for Carolina.
With the loss, the Woodpeckers and Mudcats find themselves tied for second place, each with an 8-6 record. The Woodpeckers won't have to wait too long to take the game back from Carolina, as the two teams will make the drive south to open a four-game series at Segra Stadium. Enoli Paredes will throw the first pitch in Segra Stadium history tomorrow at 7:00PM.