Deja Vu: Wood Ducks and Woodpeckers Split Playoff Doubleheader
Forced to play another doubleheader due to Hurricane Dorian, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers and Down East Wood Ducks found themselves right where they started in the South Division Championship Series, as the two sides once again split a playoff twin-bill. Down East stunned Fayetteville in comeback fashion, walking-off with a 5-4 win in extra innings, before the Woodpeckers responded with a 7-2 thumping in game two. Fayetteville blasted three home runs in game one before falling, while the Woodpeckers relied on a strong performance from Luis Garcia in game two to set up the winner-take-all affair on Sunday.
Starting game one in blazing fashion, Jeremy Pena took the second pitch of the game to deep left field for his second home run of the playoffs. Following Pena, however, the Woodpeckers were quieted by Wood Ducks starter Noah Bremer, as the right-hander coasted into the fifth inning following the homer, aided by a quick response by the Wood Ducks offense as well. Fayetteville finally found an answer for Bremer in that fifth inning, however, when Miguelangel Sierra popped his first home run of the playoffs to center field, a two-run shot, to tie the game at two, and Cal Stevenson followed with a solo blast of his own to right field to give Fayetteville the 4-3 lead. Unable to build any insurance, the Woodpeckers found themselves on the outside after failing to manage anything substantial against relievers Cole Uvila and Michael Matuella. Matuella (W, 1-0) tossed over two innings in the outing to give Down East the chance for the winner, after stranding the designated runner at third base in extra innings.
While Fayetteville took the quick lead, Jojanse Torres was unable to hold it for long, as the righty allowed three runs across the first four batters of the game, produced from an RBI double and later a two-run home run by Sherten Apostle. Torres responded to the call to recover following the homer, making it into the fifth inning without allowing another run. With a new lead intact, closer Humberto Castellanos came on to try for a multiple inning save. Castellanos opened his day by stranding a pair of inherited runners, and he followed by retiring the side in the sixth inning. Needing just three outs for the save, Castellanos instead allowed a game-tying home run to Yanio Perez on the first pitch of the frame. Now hoping to avoid the walk-off, Castellanos (L, 0-1) was able to send the game into extra innings before departing in the middle of the eighth. Riley Cabral took over, but surrendered a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and a single by Yohel Pozo gave Down East the comeback win.
With their season suddenly on the line and only about 45 minutes to turn around, Fayetteville handed things off to Luis Garcia to force a game five. While Luis did allow a pair of baserunners in the first inning, the right-hander benefited from some heads-up fielding to strand the pair, and Garcia went on to only allow one more base hit through the end of the fifth inning. The strong outing from Garcia (W, 1-0) gave Fayetteville plenty of time to take a sizeable lead, large enough to survive a pair of solo home run in the sixth inning, one from J.P. Martinez, and another from Sherten Apostel. Hitting a limit, Garcia left it off for Jacob Billingsley to set down Down East quietly.
The Woodpeckers were poised to make a big win a massive blowout, as Fayetteville loaded the bases in the first inning, but starter Reid Anderson struck out a pair of batters to strand the trio. Anderson went on to set Fayetteville aside quietly into the fourth inning. Entering the fourth inning, however, Anderson (L, 0-1) failed to record any outs, and had to be lifted after allowing the first four batters to reach safely with a 2RBI single by Ruben Castro mixed into the frame. While reliever Jefferson Medina stranded the runners he inherited, the right-hander hit his own struggle in the fifth inning when he allowed the first three batters to reach safely. Francisco Villegas took over for Down East, but allowed all three inherited runners to score, followed by a run of his own before escaping what had become a four-run inning. Tim Brennan would toss the only scoreless outing from a Down East pitcher, but was lifted for Jairo Beras in the seventh inning, while Beras hit Marty Costes with a pitch to drive in one final run for the Woodpeckers, while Fayetteville stranded the bases loaded three times on the night.
As the two sides have traded contests, Fayetteville will try to capture the series in a winner-take-all game five on Sunday in Kinston. Shawn Dubin will climb the hill for the series finale, with the first pitch from Grainger Stadium scheduled for 3:00PM.
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 woodpeckers@Astros.com.
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Carolina League Stories from September 7, 2019
- Wilmington Wins a Wild One to Force Decisive Game Five - Wilmington Blue Rocks
- Deja Vu: Wood Ducks and Woodpeckers Split Playoff Doubleheader - Fayetteville Woodpeckers
- CLDS Tied 2-2 After Down East, Fayetteville Split Double-Header - Down East Wood Ducks
- Blue Rocks Take 5-4 Extra Inning Win over Red Sox - Salem Red Sox
- September 7 Game Information - Down East Wood Ducks
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