Kannapolis on Wrong End of Comeback; Drop to Woodpeckers 9-8 Saturday
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers were able to put up a solid night offensively, but eventually would fall victim to a successful comeback by the Fayetteville Woodpeckers in Saturday's 9-8 defeat at Atrium Health Ballpark.
RHP Martin Carrasco began the night on the mound, with his start being blemished by five walks. Despite the high number of free passes, the righty from Tijuana, Mexico recovered to allow just one run on two hits, tallying five strikeouts along the way. LHP Rigo Fernandez relieved Carrasco in the fifth, allowing two runs on two hits, striking out three and walking two.
The Woodpeckers started the scoring in the top of the second with a Justin Williams solo shot to right field, giving Fayetteville an early 1-0 lead.
D.J. Gladney continued his hot hitting ways in the bottom of the second, scoring Samil Polanco on an RBI single to left field, knotting the ballgame at 1-1.
Kannapolis' lineup exploded for five runs on four hits in the bottom of the third, sending ten batters to the plate. Wilber Sanchez opened the inning with a solo home run to left field, giving the Ballers a 2-1 lead. Four batters later in the frame, Polanco tallied two RBIs with one swing of the bat on a double over the head of Fayetteville's center fielder Jordan Brewer, scoring Caberea Weaver and Shawn Goosenberg to grow the lead to 4-1.
Chase Krogman continued the fun with an RBI single to left field, bringing Bryan Ramos across the plate to make it 5-1. Later in the frame, a passed ball by Woodpeckers catcher Miguel Palma allowed Polanco to score, letting Kannapolis complete the big inning with a 6-1 advantage.
RHP Jairo Lopez got through 2.1 innings in his start, allowing six runs on seven hits, walking two and punching out five. RHP Kasey Ford entered in the third, neutralizing Kannapolis bats in his 1.2 no-hit frames of work, striking out three and walking one. RHP Heitor Tokar (W, 1-0) is credited with the victory, lasting four innings and striking out six.
Fayetteville's night of offense kept going in the top of the fifth, with Brewer contributing a two-run home run to left field, cutting the lead to 6-3.
Krogman answered with his fourth RBI of the series in the bottom of the fifth, driving in Polanco on a sacrifice fly to left field, handing the Ballers a 7-3 advantage.
The top of the seventh became a problem quickly for Kannapolis, with Fayetteville pulling together a comeback effort. Quincy Hamilton made it 7-4 on a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Joey Loperfido to score. Later in the frame, Williams and Brewer pulled off a successful double steal, with Brewer's swipe of home narrowing the gap to 7-5. Victor Mascai then contributed a sacrifice fly, scoring Williams to put the Woodpeckers within reach at 7-6.
In an inning where not a single base hit was obtained, Will Wagner reaching on a fielder's choice in the top of the eighth completed the comeback for Fayetteville. Brewer and Hamilton scored on a throwing error by Sanchez, handing the Woodpeckers an 8-7 lead. Chad Stevens then walked with the bases loaded, extending the lead even further to 9-7.
The Ballers rallied for another run in the bottom of the ninth, with Krogman coming down to his final strike of the game before poking a ground ball through the shifted infield, scoring Ramos to close the gap to 9-8.
RHP Hunter Speer (L, 1-2) is credited with the loss in Saturday's action, allowing three runs and walking five despite allowing zero hits.
The Cannon Ballers will conclude their 2021 home schedule on Sunday in the series finale with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. RHP Matt Thompson (1-8, 6.75 ERA) gets the ball for Kannapolis, with the Woodpeckers sending out RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-0, 3.00 ERA).
Tickets can be purchased for any remaining home games at kcballers.com or at the F&M Bank Box Office located at Atrium Health Ballpark. Fans can also keep up with the action on the team's social media outlets, with live in-game updates being provided on twitter at @kcannonballers.
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