KINSTON, NC - Just two pitches doomed the Woodies (9-7, 33-52) in a 3-1 loss to the Astros (11-6, 48-39) on Saturday night. Two home runs for Buies Creek in the first three innings were enough to last the entire game for the win.
The Down East bullpen worked five shutout innings in the defeat. The combined efforts of Peter Fairbanks, Kelvin Vasquez, and Scott Williams only allowed one hit and struck out four.
Pitching and defense took centerstage in the game, as there were only 11 combined hits and several dazzling plays by both sides.
Jacob Shortslef had his second start of the year begin on a sour note, when Jake Rogers hit a two-run homer three batters into the game to open the scoring. Shortslef would strike out the side in the second on 12 pitches in the second.
With one out in the third, Ryne Birk clocked a solo home run to left and the score was suddenly 3-0 Buies Creek. Jorge Alcala started for the Astros and only allowed three hits in his six innings of work. He claimed his third win of the year - and second against the Woodies.
Down East would not break through until the seventh, when Ti'Quan Forbes came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. He struck a ball to right-center that was caught but Josh Morgan scored on the sacrifice fly to put the Woodies on the board, 3-1. Forbes would later claim his first hit at the advanced-A level.
The Wood Ducks would battle in the ninth, pushing runners to first and second with two outs. A Lipka strikeout would end the game and his 10-game hitting streak - tying the Wood Ducks' season high.
Game three of the series is set for Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Lefty Jeffrey Springs (1-7, 4.60) will throw against RHP Forrest Whitely (1-0, 0.00). 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.