Kinston, NC – The Fayetteville Woodpeckers (16-21) played a pair of tightly contested games Saturday at Grainger Stadium and ended up splitting their doubleheader with the Down East Wood Ducks (20-16). Fayetteville took the first game by a 2-1 final before Down East got their revenge in the second contest,
Kinston, NC – The Fayetteville Woodpeckers (16-21) played a pair of tightly contested games Saturday at Grainger Stadium and ended up splitting their doubleheader with the Down East Wood Ducks (20-16). Fayetteville took the first game by a 2-1 final before Down East got their revenge in the second contest, 4-3. The Woodpeckers still hold a 3-2 series lead heading into Sunday’s finale.
The front half of the doubleheader saw the debut of Woodpeckers RHP Amilcar Chirinos, who allowed just one run over two and two-thirds innings while striking out a pair. That run came on a wild pitch that brought home Down East’s Yeison Morrobel.
The score stayed at 1-0 Woodies until the top of the fifth. Jackson Loftin led off with an opposite-field bloop single before Zach Cole hammered a 1-1 pitch from Wood Ducks reliever Damian Mendoza (L, 1-2) to deep center for a two-run homer, giving Fayetteville the lead. It was Cole’s seventh home run of the season and his second in as many games.
That blast was more than enough for Woodpeckers reliever Alimber Santa (W, 1-3), who was dominant the rest of the way. Santa went four scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out five en route to his first career Single-A win.
Once again, Down East took an early lead in the ballgame. In the bottom of the first, Tucker Mitchell laced an RBI double down the left field line to drive home Abi Ortiz for the opening run. However, Fayetteville put together a quick response in the top of the second when Sandro Gaston ripped a two-run double to left, scoring John Garcia and Loftin to give the Woodpeckers the 2-1 edge.
The lead was short lived as Wood Ducks shortstop Cam Cauley hit the first pitch he saw in the bottom half from Fayetteville starter Jose Fleury (L, 0-2) over the fence in center for a game-tying solo shot. Similarly, the bottom of the third began with a leadoff home run from Ortiz that pushed Down East back in front, 3-2.
A throwing error from Woodies third baseman Gleider Figuereo brought home Ricardo Balogh all the way from first to tie the game once again in the top of the fifth. But again Down East responded in the bottom half, this time with a leadoff triple for JoJo Blackmon and a go-ahead sacrifice fly from Anthony Gutierrez to give the home team the lead for good.
The one-run lead was plenty for Wood Ducks reliever Jose Corniell (W, 2-1), who shut down the Woodpeckers’ offense down the stretch to earn the split for his squad.
Both teams will wrap up their six-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 ET.
BOX SCORE: https://www.milb.com/gameday/728069/final/box