Kinston, N.C. – With the Wood Ducks trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Yanio Perez crushed an opposite-field walk-off home run, to send the Woodies to a 3-2 victory, Thursday.
Down East (13-9, 63-29) has now won five times in walk-off fashion this season, and has 21 comeback victories overall.
Lynchburg (11-11, 43-46) jumped on the scoreboard early. Steven Kwan led off the first inning with a walk, stole second, and moved to third on a single from Oscar Gonzalez. One batter later, Gavin Collins would lift a sac fly to put Lynchburg ahead, 1-0.
It would stay that way until the ninth as Sal Mendez and Kirk McCarty would enter a pitcher’s duel.
Mendez worked seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits, he walked four and struck out three, facing just two over the minimum after the second inning. McCarty was even better, firing six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out six. He retired the final seven batters he faced including striking out the side in the sixth to end the outing. Neither starter would factor in the decision.
Jairo Beras (win, 2-0) took over for the Wood Ducks in the ninth, and with two outs, served up a home run to Wilbis Santiago, his first of the season, putting the Woodies behind, 2-0, down to their final at-bat.
In the home half of the ninth Diosbel Arias worked a walk to begin the frame, and then Curtis Terry ripped a ball off of their baseman Connor Smith for an infield single. Hasuan Viera would pinch run for Terry at first base, and Yohel Pozo would pop out against Brock Hartson for the first out of the inning. The Hillcats then turned to Yapson Gomez (loss, 0-3) out of the bullpen, and on a 1-1 pitch he gave up the three-run homer to Perez, his third of the season, to lift the Wood Ducks to victory, 3-2.
The Wood Ducks go for the series sweep on Friday at 7 p.m. when they send right-hander Reid Anderson (3-5, 4.08) to the mound to face off with Lynchburg righty Justin Garza (4-6, 5.12). It’s Mother Earth Friday at Grainger Stadium with postgame fireworks presented by WNCT. The broadcast will begin at 6:50 p.m on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172.