Woodpeckers Soar to Comeback Victory over Keys
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers snagged their fifth win in six games to continue a dominant stretch with a win over the Frederick Keys. The Woodpeckers were held scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, with Chandler Taylor finally putting Fayetteville on the board by smoking his 10th homer of the season. Still down a run, the Woodpeckers turned the table on the Keys by pouring on three runs in the seventh to take a late lead. Behind Austin Hansen's three scoreless innings in relief and an extra insurance run in eighth Fayetteville took the series opener over Frederick with a 5-2 win on the road.
The Woodpeckers offense went down in order to start the game against Keys starter Brenan Hanifee, with Fayetteville hurler Cody Deason (3-2) doing the same to the Frederick offense. The Woodpeckers finally got a baserunner with one away in the second frame when Scott Manea drew a walk. Hanifee locked in forcing Cal Stevenson into a groundout and catching Miguelangel Sierra looking to continue his scoreless outing. Fayetteville finally got two runners on in the top of the third when Ruben Castro walked, followed by the first hit of the day off the bat of Ross Adolph. With runners at the corners and two outs the Woodpeckers still could not tally a score, leaving both Castro and Adolph stranded.
Despite the Keys putting runners at the corners as well in the bottom of the third, Deason stayed strong to shutout Frederick for his first three frames of work. The Keys eventually broke the 0-0 tie in the bottom the fourth, starting with a fly ball off the bat of JC Escarra that was lost in the sky by the Woodpeckers outfield, allowing Escarra to snag a double. Caydn Grenier followed by slicing a single, while Deason loaded the bases when he clipped Will Robertson with a pitch. The Woodpeckers starter earned a crucial backwards K against Robbie Thorburn to eliminate the sacrifice fly, but Jean Carrillo roped a ball to center field that scored Escarra and Grenier. Carrillo added RBIs 17 and 18 on the year with the knock and made it 2-0 Frederick after four innings of play.
Hanifee allowed just his second hit of the game to Fayetteville when David Hensley laced one up the middle to leadoff the top of the fifth. The Woodpeckers could not get the run home, going down in order to end the frame. However, Fayetteville finally got on the board with one gone in the top of the sixth. Chandler Taylor stepped to the plate and crushed a solo shot over the right field wall, launching the 11th home run surrendered by Hanifee this season. The bomb was Taylor's 10th on the year and cut the Keys lead to just one after five and half. Cody Deason finished off his longest outing in a Woodpeckers uniform by a pitching another shutout frame in the bottom of the sixth. The final line for the Arizona product included just five hits allowed and six total strikeouts.
Frederick made a pitching change in the top of the seventh and the Woodpeckers offense took advantage. With Reed Hayes (0-2) now on the mound Miguelangel Sierra quickly drew a leadoff base on balls, tying the game when David Hensley knocked him home on an RBI single. Ruben Castro put Hensley 90 feet away with a base hit of his own, but then Hayes sent down Jeremy Pena and Ross Adolph in order to put two away. Corey Julks seemed unfazed, smoking a double off the wall in left center that brought home Hensley and gave Fayetteville the lead for the first time on the night. Chandler Taylor's base hit sent Castro home to add some insurance for the Woodpeckers, who notched three runs and took a 4-2 lead as the top of the seventh ended.
The Woodpeckers made a pitching change, turning to Austin Hansen to solidify a win on the hill. The righty quickly walked back-to-back Keys batters meaning the tying run was at first for Frederick. Hansen ended the frame without allowing either of those runners to move, fielding a pop-up bunt himself and then fanning both Robert Neustrom and Patrick Dorrian to end the seventh inning. The Woodpeckers helped their hurler by scoring again in the top of the eighth, this time against Keys reliever Zach Matson. Cal Stevenson and David Hensley both walked in the inning, with Stevenson scoring thanks to Ruben Castro's second single on the night. That made it a three-run lead for Fayetteville heading into the bottom of the eighth. In that frame JC Escarra quickly crushed a double to center, moving to third on an unassisted groundout. Hansen grabbed his third K on the day by striking out Robertson, ending the frame and leaving the runner stranded with a forced pop up to short. The score stayed the same in the ninth inning, as the Woodpeckers and Hansen got out of a bases loaded bottom of the frame with a 3-4-3 double play. The great defensive effort cemented a 5-2 Woodpeckers road win as Fayetteville took game one of a three game series.
The Woodpeckers move to 61-62 overall on the year and 7-2 against the Keys this year. Frederick on the other hand falls to 48-73 this season and 19-33 in the second half. The two squads meet again tomorrow in game two at Nymeo Field. First pitch from Maryland is set for 6:00pm Saturday.
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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