KINSTON, NC - Jeffrey Springs rebounded in a big way for the Wood Ducks, matching his career-high in strikeouts with ten over six shutout innings in an 8-1 win over the Astros. Not only does the win mark a split for the four-game series, it's the first win of the season for Springs.
Down East also scored three runs on three Buies Creek errors in the contest. Josh Morgan and Eduard Pinto led the way with three hits and two runs each for the offense. Michael O'Neill reclaimed the team lead in home runs, connecting on his sixth of the year in a big fifth inning for the Woodies.
The first three batters of the game reached base for the Wood Ducks, with Morgan's single scoring Pinto from second base. In all, the Woodies tagged Astros' starter Hector Perez for eight hits in his five innings.
Two more runs were plated in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout from O'Neill and an RBI single from Josh Altmann . Springs had kept the Astros off the board for the first four innings with seven strikeouts.
After a 5-4-3 double play ended the top of the fifth, the Woodies got singles from Brallan Perez and Pinto in the bottom half to set the stage for Ledarious Clark. He dropped a bunt in front of home that was fielded by Perez, but his throw hit Clark in the shoulder and rolled down the right field line.
Pinto and Perez scored and Clark moved to second base with no one out. Morgan added his second RBI single of the game three pitches later with a line drive up the middle to score Clark. O'Neill came up two batters later and blasted his home run to put the Wood Ducks up 8-0.
In the sixth, Springs struck out the first two batters of the inning to up his total to 10. He had Jason Martin with a 1-2 count before he tapped a ground ball back to Springs for the final out of his night. He threw a season-high 102 pitches in the win.
Jacob Shortslef served as the bridge from starter to bullpen, working a season-high three innings in relief. He collected four more strikeouts - which tied a season-high. His one blemish came in the ninth, when Martin connected on a solo home run to right to void the shutout bid.
Monday was the final meeting of the first half between Buies Creek and Down East, as the Astros still have a 9.5 game lead on the Woodies with 35 games to play. On Tuesday, the Wood Ducks open a three-game series with the Carolina Mudcats.
Promotions include Food Lion BOGO Night and Taco Tuesday presented by Tecate. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. You can listen to every pitch of the 2017 season live on Sports/Talk 960 The Bull or streamed on the TuneIn Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.