ZEBULON, N.C. (DEWDS) – After squandering a 5-0 lead, the Wood Ducks battled back to a 9-7 victory over the Carolina Mudcats Sunday at Five County Stadium.
Down East (35-17) is now five and a half games ahead of Carolina (29-22) in the standings with 18 games left to play in the first half.
The Woodies hit around Dylan File early in the ballgame, forcing the Carolina starter from the game in the first inning. Yonny Hernandez led off the ballgame with a single up the middle, and Leody Taveras followed with a single to center. Ryan Dorow came through with a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Wood Ducks ahead, 1-0. Diosbel Arias then followed with an RBI double down the left field line, and Sam Huff continued the scoring with a single through the left side to plate Arias. With the bases loaded, Yanio Perez looped a single to left-center to extend the lead to 4-0, and two batters later Hernandez walked with the bases full, forcing File from the ballgame, with Down East ahead, 5-0.
File gave up five runs on five hits in 0.2 innings, walked two and struck out one. He did not factor in the decision.
Carolina got one run back in the home first against Reid Anderson. Ryan Aguilar doubled with one out, and then came into score on a throwing error from Anderson Tejeda later in the inning.
The Mudcats would continue to chip away. Mario Feliciano doubled with two outs in the second, and after Payton Henry reached on an infield single, Feliciano scored on a wild pitch.
After Arias doubled home Taveras to get a run back for the Woodies, Carolina answered with two more in the home fourth. Nick Roscetti was hit by a pitch with one out, and later in the frame, Wes Rogers came through with an RBI double, and Aguilar followed with an RBI single, to cut the lead to 6-4.
Anderson lasted four innings, giving up six hits and four runs (three earned), he walked one and struck out four.
Josh Advocate (win, 3-1) took over in the fifth. Carolina sent eight men to the plate in the inning and went ahead for the first time in the ballgame. Feliciano and Henry led off with back-to-back singles, and then Rob Henry tried to bunt both into scoring position. On the play, Advocate tried to get the lead out at third base, but Feliciano was called safe to load the bases. Eddie Silva then came through with a two-run single to tie the game, and he came in on a go-ahead sac fly from Julio Garcia, to make it 7-6 Carolina.
The Woodies were quick to respond. Dorow singled to lead off the sixth and moved to second on a balk from Cody Beckman (loss, 2-2). Arias then came through with another RBI single to tie the ballgame. After a Huff single, Tejeda came through with an RBI groundout to put the Woodies back in front, 8-7.
The Woodies added a big insurance run in the ninth. Julio Pablo Martinez singled, and was replaced by Hernandez at first after a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Hernandez stole second, setting up Taveras for an RBI single through the left side to push the Down East lead to 9-7.
Joe Barlow came out of the bullpen to strand a pair of runners in the sixth, and worked 1.2 scoreless, picking up four strikeouts and the hold. He then gave way to Demarcus Evans (save, 6) with two on and two out in the eighth inning, and Evans recorded the final five outs of the ballgame, picking up two strikeouts in the process.
After an off day on Tuesday, the Woodies return to Grainger Stadium to face off with the Salem Red Sox, beginning with a 7 p.m. start on Wednesday. Right-hander Jason Bahr (3-1, 1.99) will make the start for the Woodies, opposed by Salem righty Kutter Crawford (3-3, 3.23). The broadcast 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. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com, or call (252) 686-5172.