Martinez drives in three as Woodies top Blue Rocks, 5-2

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KINSTON, N.C. (DEWDS) – Julio Pablo Martinez drove in three runs, all coming in two-out situations, as Down East defeated Wilmington 5-2 Friday night at Grainger Stadium.

The Wood Ducks (22-13, 72-33) have now won four straight ballgames, and improve to 4-1 this season against the Blue Rocks (18-17, 62-42).

The Woodies got on the board in the first inning against Jonathan Bowlan. With one away, Sam Huff laced a ball off the wall in right center for a double, and one batter later, Curtis Terry followed with an RBI single down the right field line. With two outs, and following a Josh Altmann walk, Martinez ripped a double to the wall in left field to score a pair, and put the Wood Ducks ahead, 3-0. Huff has now hit safely in 14 straight games.

Bowlan (loss, 4-2) worked four innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, he walked one and struck out five in his shortest outing at the Carolina League level.

John King went just three innings for the Woodies, giving up a run on four hits, and picking up a strikeout. The run came in the third inning, when Colby Schultz singled to begin the inning, and after a groundout pushed him to second base, Blake Perkins followed with an RBI single to right-center to put Wilmington on the board, 3-1.

Down East responded quickly. In the home third Terry and Yanio Perez each singled, leading to another Martinez RBI, as he singled into right field to make it 4-1. Then in the fifth, it was Bubba Thompson coming through with two outs, on a single to left-center to score Tyler Depreta-Johnson, and make it a 5-1 lead.

Scott Engler (win, 3-0) was excellent in relief. He worked three scoreless innings, facing the minimum, giving up a hit, but striking out two. Jairo Beras gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning on a wild pitch that plated Bruce Steel, after an error advanced him to third, but Beras struck out four in two innings out of the bullpen. Cole Uvila (save, 4) then struck out the side in the ninth, on just 12 pitches, to close out the ballgame.

The middle game of the three game set is Saturday at 6 p.m. when the Wood Ducks send right-hander Alex Eubanks (8-3, 2.51) to the mound to face off with Wilmington lefty Kris Bubic (3-2, 3.13). It’s first responder appreciation day at Grainger Stadium, where all first responders will be granted admission free of charge, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a first responders cap, presented by Lenoir Community College. The broadcast will begin at 5:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online on 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172.