Nationals Clobber Woodpeckers, Claim Series Opener
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers gave up eight hits, seven runs, and two home runs in the lopsided loss to the Potomac Nationals. Gage Canning had a career high five RBIs including a three-run bomb for Potomac who now owns a 4-1 record against Fayetteville this year. Chandler Taylor was 2-3 collecting a pair of stand-up doubles on Thirsty Thursday, but the rest of the Woodpeckers offense fell short as Fayetteville ultimately lost 7-1 at Segra Stadium.
The Nationals took the lead in the top of first against Woodpeckers starter Chad Donato (3-6), although the Fayetteville hurler retired the first batter of the game in Gage Canning. Cole Freeman drew a base on balls to put a runner aboard for Potomac, eventually stealing second to move into scoring position for the next batter Aldrem Corredor. The Nationals slugger laced a line drive to center field that allowed Freeman to round third and score, making it 1-0. The Woodpeckers defense forced a 5-4-3 double play to end the frame, but Potomac went up early on Thirsty Thursday. Nats' starter Kyle Johnston (6-7) sent down the Woodpeckers in order to start a stellar day on the mound for the visiting pitcher.
The second frame was Donato's best, facing just three batters, as the Woodpeckers defense once again completed a double play to end the inning off an 8-3 outfield assist from Fayetteville. The top of the third did not go quite as well for the Woodpeckers' righty as Potomac hit three straight singles to tack on another score off an RBI from Gage Canning that brought home Jakson Reetz to make it 2-0 Potomac. For the third inning in a row the 'Peckers defense ended the frame with a twin killing, setting a record for most in a game this season.
Fayetteville cut into the 2-0 Potomac lead in the bottom of the third, after Johnston had retired six straight in the previous two frames. Chandler Taylor smacked the first hit of the game for the Woodpeckers smoking a double to right field, putting a runner in scoring position for the 'Peckers. After Johnston struck out Enmanuel Valdez, Miguelangel Sierra roped a double of his own to right center that brought home the Woodpeckers first tally of the game. Sierra's 22nd RBI of the year cut the Potomac lead to one, but Fayetteville could not take advantage of Sierra at second going down in order to end the frame.
Donato pitched a scoreless fourth to preserve the 2-1 score, but the outing got bumpier in the next three frames. The top of the fifth started with Osvaldo Abreau knocking a leadoff base hit and then moving to second on a wild pitch from the Fayetteville hurler. Reetz reached after drawing walk, to put two runners on for Canning who quickly roped another RBI single to score Abreau and make it 3-1 Potomac. Fayetteville ended the inning with yet another double play, this one a 9-2 twin killing that stopped Reetz from coming home thanks to the arm from Scott Schreiber and the tag from Colton Shaver. That made it four double plays on the night, doubling the before set franchise record for the 'Peckers. The fifth inning saw the Nationals add another run right away as Aldrem Corredor absolutely crushed a solo shot 400 feet over the center field wall, for his second RBI of the night. The 6th homer of the year for the Potomac slugger also extended the Nationals lead to 4-1, a score that would remain the same heading into the top of the seventh as Donato retired the side to end the sixth. The 'Peckers starter went back out on the mound for the Woodpeckers in the seventh, become only the third Fayetteville starter to register an out in the sixth as he forced a quick fly out against leadoff batter Abreau. Donato struggled against the next two batters walking Reetz and hitting Armond Upshaw with a pitch. With one away and two on Fayetteville decided to make a pitching change sending out Tanner Duncan to get out of the jam. Duncan went head-to-head with Gage Canning to start his outing with Canning winning the battle by blasting a three-run bomb that continued the pile on by the Potomac offense. The second Nationals' home run put them up 7-1 and gave Canning a career high 5 RBIs on the night, which is good for 24% of his total RBIs on the season. Duncan stopped the bleeding by forcing Cole Freeman to fly out and getting KJ Harrison to bat the breeze as the Woodpeckers headed into the bottom of the seventh down six runs.
The Woodpeckers offense could not take advantage of multiple runners in scoring position throughout the night. Johnston tossed six innings for the Nationals, allowing four hits, all four of which were doubles. In the bottom of the fifth Chandler Taylor knocked his second extra-base hit of the game, but he was left stranded after Johnston retired both Valdez and Sierra in order. In the bottom of the sixth the 'Peckers again found themselves within striking distance after Colton Shaver hit a two-out two-bagger. Jake Adams grounded out to end the inning, meaning the day was finished for Johnston having just allowed one run on the night. The Nationals bullpen was phenomenal as well, as Jhonathon German and Andrew Istler combined for three scoreless innings of work. The Woodpeckers only mustered up one more hit against the Potomac relievers and only had two base runners in the final three frames. That clearly was not enough for Fayetteville to launch an epic six run comeback and Fayetteville fell 7-1 to the Nationals at home.
The Woodpeckers are now 1-4 against Potomac this year and 29-37 on the season. The Nationals on the other hand advance to 29-35. Game two of a four game tilt is set for tomorrow with Austin Hansen making his Segra Stadium debut on the mound. First pitch is set for 7:00pm.
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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