WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Sept. 7, 2018) - Winston-Salem mounted a late-inning comeback against Buies Creek in Game 3 of the Southern Division Championship Series, but the Astros defeated the Dash 6-5 on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark in front of a postseason-record 4,011 fans. With the win, Buies Creek (3-0, 80-57) sweeps the Southern Division Championship Series, and the Dash season comes to a close.
Winston-Salem (0-3, 84-54) starter Kyle Kubat (0-1) and Buies Creek starter Tyler Ivey (1-0) went toe-to-toe in a pitcher's duel through the first five innings. Kubat surrendered just two hits and one walk while striking out four in his first five innings. Meanwhile, Ivey fired five perfect frames.
The Astros (3-0, 80-57) broke through in the sixth against Kubat. After Corey Julks walked with two outs, Bryan De La Cruz snuck a single up the middle to put runners on first and second. Then, Seth Beer lofted a 1-1 offering over the left-field fence for an opposite-field, three-run homer to put Buies Creek up 3-0.
The Dash broke up Ivey's perfect game bid with two outs in the sixth inning when JJ Muno drew a walk. Then, Luis Robert doubled down the left-field line to put runners on second and third. But, Ivey rebounded to strike out Luis Gonzalez to keep Winston-Salem off the scoreboard.
Buies Creek added on three in the seventh via solo shots from Jake Adams, Cody Bohanek and Osvaldo Duarte to increase the lead to six, but the Dash roared back in the eighth.
Gavin Sheets led off the frame with a slow roller up the middle for a single. Two batters later, Laz Rivera crushed a two-run homer to left field to ignite the Dash offense and cut the deficit to four runs. Following a pitching chance in which Carlos Sanabria replaced Ivey, Muno walked and Robert was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second.
Then, Nick Madrigal plated a run with a bloop single to left-center field to keep the rally alive and bring the tying run to the plate. A second pitching change brought in Colin McKee, and a passed ball from Chuckie Robinson allowed Robert to score from third to make it a 6-4 game.
Winston-Salem drew closer in the ninth on a solo home run from Sheets but fell short of completing the comeback. McKee finished off the sweep for the Astros, earning his second save of the series.
Despite the loss, Winston-Salem had one of its best campaigns in the Dash era (2009-present). In the regular season, the Dash won both halves for the first time since 2012 and the fourth time in franchise history. The Dash finished 41-29 in the first half and 43-25 in the second half. Winston-Salem's 84-54 overall record was good for the best mark in the Carolina League this season and the fourth-best record in all of Minor League Baseball. Winston-Salem's 84 wins were also the second highest in the team's 10-year history.
The 2019 Carolina League season will begin on Thursday, April 4, and it will once again comprise of a 140-game slate. For offseason updates on the Dash, be sure to log on to wsdash.com or call (336) 714-2287.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.