Winston-Salem drops series opener to Down East

Rutherford's eighth-inning home run not enough in 9-3 loss

Blake Rutherford hit his third home run of the season and second in as many games. (Clinton Cole/FutureSox)

By Winston-Salem Dash | May 10, 2018 8:26 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (May 10, 2018) - Blake Rutherford hit his second home run in as many nights on Thursday, but the Dash could not overcome a strong offensive night from Down East, falling 9-3 to the Wood Ducks at BB&T Ballpark.

Rutherford's two-run shot came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Facing Down East (18-16) starter Michael Matuella (1-3), Rutherford rocketed the 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence for his third homer of the season. The long ball cut the deficit to 9-3, but Winston-Salem (20-14) fell well short of a comeback.

After the teams traded zeroes in the first three innings of the game, Down East took the lead in the fourth. Dash starter Danny Dopico (0-2), who was perfect through his first three innings, walked Leody Taveras to start the inning. After Anderson Tejeda singled, Taveras scored on a sacrifice fly ffrom Brendon Davis.

The Dash struck right back in the bottom of the fourth. Rutherford led off the inning by scorching a line drive to deep centerfield that skipped of Taveras' glove, resulting in a three-base error. Micker Adolfo promptly plated Rutherford with a single, collecting his 27th RBI of the season and tying the game at one. 

But the Wood Ducks offense strung together five hits in the next inning to score five runs and take a 6-1 lead. Andretty Cordero and Matt Whatley started the frame with back-to-back doubles. Then, after a walk and a strikeout, Drew Hasler relieved Dopico. Taveras greeted the right-hander with an RBI single, and then later scored on a two-run single from Brendon Davis. 

Dopico tossed a career-high 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on three hits, striking out three and walking two. Of the four runs charged to his line, two scored after he exited the game.

In the sixth, the Wood Ducks offense picked up right where it left off. Hasler got the first two outs of the inning, but then ran into trouble. After walking Josh Altmann, Hasler gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Taveras and a two-run triple to Tejeda. Down East scored three runs in the inning to expand its lead to 9-1.

Matuella pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season, striking out a career-high eight batters to earn his first win of the season. The loss snaps the Dash's five-game winning streak, their second-best stretch of the season.

Winston-Salem's series with the Wood Ducks continues on Friday at BB&T Ballpark. Right-hander Dylan Cease (4-1, 1.95 ERA), who is the reigning Carolina League Pitcher of the Week, starts for the Dash against Wood Ducks right-hander Walter Weickel (0-2, 5.40 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m. on wsdash.com/broadcast, MiLB.tv and the TuneIn Radio App.

Promotions during the Dash's homestand include a Fireworks Friday, a Chick-fil-A Four Pack offer and a Gold's Gym BOOTCAMP on Saturday, and a Mother's Day celebration on Sunday. Following Friday, Saturday and Sunday's contests, kids can run the bases, powered by New Balance Winston-Salem. For tickets and more information, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 or visit wsdash.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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