KINSTON, N.C. (DEWDS) – The Down East Wood Ducks held on for a 7-4 victory over the Frederick Keys Friday night at Grainger Stadium.
Down East (26-15, 76-35) has now won each of the first five meetings this season with Frederick (15-25, 44-65), outscoring the Keys, 21-7.
The Wood Ducks took the lead in the second inning. Yohel Pozo singled to center field with one out in the inning, and then Sherten Apostel and Josh Altman worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. Bubba Thompson followed, crushing a grand slam to left field, his third home run of the year, to put Down East up, 4-0, with one swing of the bat. It was the Wood Ducks first grand slam this season.
Two innings later, the Wood Ducks piled on against Ofelky Peralta (loss, 0-2). Apostel and Altman again drew back-to-back free passes to begin the frame, and with two outs, Diosbel Arias belted a three-run home run to left-center, his fourth of the year, to push the lead to 7-0.
Peralta gave up seven runs on seven hits in four innings, he walked four, all of which scored, and struck out two.
Meanwhile Tim Brennan (win, 4-0) got out to an outstanding start on the mound. Brennan retired the first 11 men he faced, before an infield single in the fourth gave the Keys their first baserunner. Frederick would plate their first run one batter later when Patrick Dorian and JC Escarra hit two straight singles to begin the inning, and then Sean Miller grounded into a double-play to score a run, putting the Keys on the board, 7-1.
Frederick then would put together a big sixth inning. Cole Billingsley led off the inning with a single, and Robert Neustrom also singled with one out, as did Brett Cumberland who drove in a run one batter later. With the bases loaded Dorian lifted a sac fly to center field to plate a run, and then Escarra singled to right on a ball that was overrun by Yanio Perez, allowing a third run to come across in the frame, and make it 7-4.
Brennan finished going six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits, he struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Jefferson Medina then worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, striking out three, while Joe Kuzia (save, 17) finished off the ballgame with a perfect ninth, including a strikeout.
The Woodies and Keys play the middle game of the three-game set Saturday at 6 p.m. when righty-hander Alex Eubanks (8-4, 2.80) takes the mound to face off with Frederick righty Brenan Hanifee (8-9, 4.46). Gates open at 4 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a DEWD Bobblehead, presented by Pepsi. The broadcast will begin at 5:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 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.