Five Run Eighth Leads Wilmington Past Down East
Kinston, N.C. - Despite entering the eighth inning with a 3-1 advantage, Friday, the Down East Wood Ducks were unable to hold on, dropping the series opener, 6-5, to Wilmington.
Down East (31-22, 81-42) suffers just their second loss of the season when leading after seven innings of play.
The Wood Ducks did take an early lead. Julio Pablo Martinez singled to begin the home first, and Sam Huff followed with a walk. Curtis Terry then lined a ball down the third base line to score a run, and put the Wood Ducks ahead, 1-0. Rito Lugo was able to strand the bases loaded in the first.
Wilmington (28-25, 72-50) responded in the second. Tyler Hill led off with an infield single, and then Dennicher Carrasco followed with a bunt hit to put two men aboard. Nick Pratto then followed with an opposite field double to left to tie the game at 1-1.
Down East would reclaim the advantage soon after. Yanio Perez singled to begin the second, and then with two outs, Huff came through with an RBI single to put the Woodies back up, 2-1.
Lugo worked five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, he walked two and struck out two.
The Wood Ducks tacked on a run in the seven when Sherten Apostel lined an opposite field solo home run, his second of the year, to make it 3-1.
Tim Brennan (loss, 4-2) was excellent early throughout, but things turned south for him in the eighth. Brennan gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning, and then on a back pick at second that got into center field, Sebastian Rivero came all the way around to score. Brennan then hit a batter and walked a man to load the bases, prompting his exit. Michael Matuella came out of the bullpen and walked the first two men he faced to tie the game, and give Wilmington their first lead. He got two outs in the inning, but also walked to more, putting Wilmington up, 6-3. Francisco Villegas came on to get the final out of the inning.
Brennan was charged with five runs, on seven hits, he walked two and struck out two.
The Wood Ducks loaded the bases in the home eighth, but Tad Ratliff (save, 23) came on to get out of the inning. Robert Garcia (win, 2-2) worked a scoreless seventh to collect the win for the Blue Rocks.
Down East would continue to rally in the ninth. Apostel worked a two-out walk, and then Perez ripped a two-run homer down the line in left to make it a 6-5 deficit. Josh Altmann then was called out at first on a bang-bang play, on a ground ball to second base to end the ballgame.
The Wood Ducks and Blue Rocks will play the middle game of their three-game series Saturday at 6 p.m. Right-hander Alex Eubanks (9-4, 3.05) will make the start for Down East, opposed by Wilmington lefty Austin Cox (2-3, 3.03). It's Throwback Weekend at Grainger Stadium and the first 1,000 fans will receive a Kinston Indians frosted mug, presented by MedSource Pharmacy, with gates opening at 4:00 p.m. The broadcast will begin at 5:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172.
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