Fayetteville and Down East Split Playoff Doubleheader
With the first two games of the South Division Championship Series merged into a doubleheader in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers traded 3-0 shutouts with the Down East Wood Ducks on Wednesday, shrinking the best-of-five series to a best-of-three series. Down East pressured with eight hits early to take the first game, while Fayetteville rode a three-run inning in tandem with a shutout performance from Austin Hansen and Humberto Castellanos to take game two.
Working quickly in game one, the Wood Ducks offense hit Nivaldo Rodriguez for a pair of runs over the first two innings. A pair of singles to lead off the game gave Sherten Apostle the chance to drive in the first run of the game on a force out, while a grounds rule double by Bubba Thompson in the second inning drove in another run. After settling through the trouble, Rodriguez (L, 0-1) allowed one final run in the sixth inning on a pair of two out singles mixed with a stolen base. Cesar Rosado tossed a scoreless seventh inning as Fayetteville fell quiet.
Inversely, the Woodpeckers offense struggled to find anything against lefty Sal Mendez in the opening game. While they did draw a trio of walks, the Woodpeckers went hitless over the first four innings of the contest. Leading off the fifth inning, Miguelangel Sierra drilled a pitch into the Wood Ducks bullpen. While Sierra seemed to have cut the 2-0 lead at that point in half, Sierra was instead called out on a controversial ruling that he failed to touch home plate. The play went down as a triple, still the first hit of the game for Fayetteville, but the blown call pulled momentum away from the Woodpeckers, as Mendez (W, 1-0) and Joe Kuzia (SV, 1) were able to keep Fayetteville off the board for the remainder of game one.
Falling behind in the series, Fayetteville handed the ball to Austin Hansen to bounce back for game two. Dancing around trouble all night, Hansen (W, 1-0) only allowed three hits over his first five innings, but he dealt with four runners in scoring position over the same span. Through a tense pair of scoreless innings to start, Hansen was still handed a lead after the third inning, and the right-hander was able to work into the sixth inning before departing. Humberto Castellanos took on the task for a five inning save. Castellanos (SV, 1) struck out three batters without allowing a baserunner to even the tilt for Fayetteville.
Offensively, the Woodpeckers took time to build an attack on right-hander Scott Engler. After Engler faced one over the minimum over his first two innings, Fayetteville got a leadoff single by Scott Schreiber, leading to Jeremy Pena smacking a two-run home run to left field. Fayetteville was not done with Engler (L, 0-1) in the third inning, however, as Fayetteville got another single and drew two walks to load the bases, sending Engler out of the game. Reliever Josh Advocate came on, immediately walked in a run, and finally settled from then on to keep Fayetteville away from any insurance. Jefferson Medina was called on for the final two innings, facing one over the minimum as Fayetteville rode their three-run frame to the victory.
The doubleheader split shrinks the best-of-five series to a best-of-three series. With an off day scheduled for Thursday for safety concerns from Hurricane Dorian, the series will shift to Down East as regularly scheduled for the final three games of the tilt. Jojanse Torres is anticipated to climb the hill for the Woodpeckers in game three, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00PM at Grainger Stadium.
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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