As the season series takes shape for these South Division foes, it is begging to look like a hearty handful of games between Fayetteville and Down East will come down to the wire. Once again, that was the case on Saturday night as the two sides went into the ninth
As the season series takes shape for these South Division foes, it is begging to look like a hearty handful of games between Fayetteville and Down East will come down to the wire. Once again, that was the case on Saturday night as the two sides went into the ninth inning with two runs each. Unfortunately for Fayetteville, things did not go as hoped in the final frame, as Ryan Dorow hit a solo home run off Jose Bravo to give the second game of the three-game tilt to the Wood Ducks. After sweeping the Frederick Keys at home, Fayetteville finds themselves in danger of being swept for the first time this year.
Following a new trend set in the last series, Bryan De La Cruz led off the first inning for Fayetteville with a base hit for the fourth time in five games, doubling to left field. Following a single, De La Cruz came home to score easily on a groundout by Jake Adams. After the early offense, however, the Woodpeckers ran into some of the same woes at the plate experienced in the shutout loss the night before. Over the next five innings, starter Noah Bremer allowed only one base hit while keeping Fayetteville off the board the entire time.
Trying to maintain the early lead, Parker Mushinski easily did his part on the mound, as the lefty tossed a scoreless first inning to open the game. After a pair of strikeouts to start the second, a throwing error allowed a runner aboard for Down East, and the first pitch to the following batter, Yanio Perez, was sent beyond the left field wall for a pair of runs and a Down East lead, both unearned on Mushinski.
The 2-1 game persisted for the next three innings before Fayetteville was able to scratch Bremer again, starting with a leadoff double by Scott Manea in the sixth inning. Following a double play that advanced Manea, Corey Julks singled to left field to score the game-tying run in Manea. Scott was the only Woodpecker to record multiple hits on the evening, going 2-for-4, after only collecting two hits in his last 26 at-bats.
Out of the bullpen, Fayetteville came up empty against another pair of Down East relievers, but the Woodpeckers had a quality arm of their own. After Mushinski struck out eight batters in his five innings, Jose Bravo set down the first seven batters he faced and didn't allow a base hit into the ninth inning, only having to work around a fielding error.
Hoping for an extra frame, Bravo picked up a strikeout to open the ninth inning. Mushinski and Bravo combined for 11 punchouts on the evening, the Woodpeckers have tallied at least 10 strikeouts in 16 of their 23 games this season. Following the leadoff strikeout, Ryan Dorow lofted a pitch over the left field wall for the walkoff, the only hit allowed by Bravo on the night.
Dropping two straight, Fayetteville winds back up in a tie for second place with the Carolina Mudcats, each of them two game behind the Wood Ducks. The Woodpeckers are in danger of being swept for the first time in their franchise's history and will have to salvage the matinee game tomorrow in Kinston. JP France is the scheduled starter for Fayetteville when things get started at Grainger Stadium at 2:00PM.