Even behind a eight strikeout relief appearance from Yohan Ramirez and Jonathan Arauz's continued record breaking hit-streak, the Wilmington Blue Rocks pitching staff stifled every Fayetteville Woodpeckers comeback attempt. Wilmington ultimately pulled off the 5-3 victory at Segra Stadium, winning their second game against the Woodpeckers this series. Dennicher Carrasco smashed a
Even behind a eight strikeout relief appearance from Yohan Ramirez and Jonathan Arauz's continued record breaking hit-streak, the Wilmington Blue Rocks pitching staff stifled every Fayetteville Woodpeckers comeback attempt. Wilmington ultimately pulled off the 5-3 victory at Segra Stadium, winning their second game against the Woodpeckers this series. Dennicher Carrasco smashed a two-run homer in his first at bat to give the Blue Rocks a lead they'd never waver in the Friday night showdown on Hay Street.
Wilmington took an early lead in the top of the first inning against Woodpeckers starter Chad Donato (3-6), kicked off by a one out single from Brewer Hicklen. Donato earned out number two on a strikeout against Nick Pratto, but Dennicher Carrasco crushed a two-run home run over the right field wall to make it 2-0 Wilmington. It was the second bomb in as many days for the Blue Rocks' third basemen and his team-high fifth of the year. Donato got the final out of the frame off a fly ball from MJ Melendez but Fayetteville still found themselves trailing after just a half a frame of play.
In the bottom of the first the Woodpeckers loaded the bases against Blue Rocks starter Daniel Tillo (4-4) due to a leadoff walk, an infield single, and a laced base-hit to left from Jacob Meyers, Jonathan Arauz, and Jake Adams respectively. It was the 14th hit in as many games for Arauz, good for a franchise-best hit streak. With the bases loaded, Marty Costes grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the frame and left two runs stranded. The Woodpeckers finally got on the board in the bottom of the third to chip the Wilmington lead to one. Ramiro Rodriguez drew a walk to start the frame, followed by a single from Jacob Meyers. Both runners advanced a base after an off target throw slipped past Nick Pratto at first, putting Rodriguez at third and Meyers at second. With still no outs Jonathan Arauz hoisted a high fly ball into center field that allowed Rodriguez to tag up and score. Tillo retired the next two batters he faced in Colton Shaver and Jake Adams to end the frame with the Woodpeckers now down 2-1.
Fayetteville hurler Donato only allowed two baserunners for the next three frames, but the Blue Rocks did manage to tally another score against the Woodpeckers starter in the top of the fifth. Ricky Aracena smacked a single with one gone and came home thanks to a hard hit chopper to third from Wilmington left fielder Brewer Hicklen. The knock was Hicklen's 15th RBI on the season and restored a two-run lead for the Blue Rocks. In the bottom of the sixth it was Fayetteville's turn to do some scoring. Jonathan Aruaz started the inning by reaching on an error committed by Wilmington third basemen Carrasco, making it all the way to second because of the throw that went awry. The Woodpeckers struggled to make anything of the runner in scoring position, as back-to-back Fayetteville batters grounded into 5-3 putouts. With two away and a new pitcher in Collin Snider on the mound for Wilmington, Marty Costes finally moved Arauz along with a single that put a runner 90-feet away for Fayetteville. Michael Papierski immediately ripped a base-hit of his own that dropped into left field, scoring Arauz and putting Fayetteville within one yet again. Both Costes and Papierksi were left stranded as Snider ended the frame by striking out Miguelangel Sierra.
The Woodpeckers went to the bullpen starting in the top of the sixth, sending out Yohan Ramirez for the rest of the game. Ramirez got out to a hot start, retiring all three batters he faced in the frame, including notching an unassisted out to end the inning. The top of the 7th, proved a little bumpier for Ramirez and the Woodpeckers defense, as the Blue Rocks tallied two more scores. The Woodpeckers hurler started the inning by getting Seuly Matias to bat the breeze for out one, but the next batter in Sebastian Rivero singled on ground ball to Jake Adams at third for a Blue Rocks baserunner. Cristian Perez followed by hitting a base-hit up the middle to Miguelangel Sierra, whose throw to first missed the glove of Colton Shaver and allowed for Rivero and Perez to move to second and third on the E4. In his first pitch to the number nine batter in Ricky Aracena, Yohan Ramirez sailed the ball into the backstop, giving enough room for Rivero to score making it 4-2 Wilmington. Aracena himself was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners for Brewer Hicklen. The Blue Rocks' batter lightly tapped a bunt up the left side scoring Perez, giving Wilmington its largest lead of the game. After that the Hicklen single, Ramirez settled in a big way, fanning five out of next six the batters he faced through the top of the ninth.
In a last ditch effort in the bottom the ninth the Woodpeckers scored another run when Micheal Papierski crossed home plate thanks to an RBI base-hit from Enmanuel Valdez. The run trimmed the Blue Rocks lead to 2, but with already two outs Wilmington reliever Tad Ratliff sealed the deal by forcing Ramiro Rodriguez to ground out, securing the 5-3 Blue Rocks win. Fayetteville dropped to 24-30 on the season and fall to 1-2 against Wilmington this year. The Blue Rocks continue to add to their North division best record, now at 34-20. The series finale between the two squads is scheduled for Saturday night at 6:00pm 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].