Pair of three-run innings lead Wood Ducks to win over Blue Rocks

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KINSTON, N.C. (DEWDS) – The Down East Wood Ducks struck for three runs in the second and three more in the eighth en route to a 6-1 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks Sunday afternoon at Grainger Stadium.

Down East (23-14, 73-24) is now 3-2 in rubber games, and 5-2 against the Blue Rocks (19-18, 63-43) this season.

The Woodies got on the board first in the second inning against Austin Cox. With two outs, Julio Pablo Martinez laid down a bunt, and beat a low throw from the pitcher Cox to first base, and on the error made it to second on the play. One batter later, Sherten Apostel lined an RBI single to right-center to put Down East on the board. Clay Middleton then followed with a two-run home run off the left field foul pole, his first of the year, to make it 3-0 Wood Ducks. Middleton finished with three hits on the day.

Cox (loss, 2-3) gave up three runs on three hits, walked two and struck out one, and exited before the start of the third inning due to injury.

Noah Bremer (win, 2-0) was solid for the Wood Ducks. The right-hander gave up just one run on five hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out three. The win for Bremer is the first since he defeated the Hillcats on April 14.

The only run he gave up came in the fourth inning. With runners at the corners, Nick Pratto lined a double down the right field line to score Kyle Isbel, but on the play Brewer Hicklen was thrown out at the plate to prevent any further damage.

The Wood Ducks added on in the eighth inning. Sam Huff extended his hitting streak to 16 in a row with a leadoff triple off the wall in left. Two batters later he came into score on a Curtis Terry RBI single. Yanio Perez then followed with a single, and Martinez then doubled to the wall in center field to score a pair and make it 6-1 Down East.

Francisco Villegas fired two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Woodies, and Michael Matuella worked a scoreless ninth, striking out a pair to end the ballgame.

After an off day on Monday, the Wood Ducks head to Zebulon for a three-game series with the Carolina Mudcats. Left-hander Sal Mendez (6-0, 2.05) will start for the Woodies, opposed by fellow left-hander Aaron Ashby (2-5, 3.63) for Carolina. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. and the pregame show will begin at 6:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps.