KINSTON, N.C. (DEWDS) - The Down East Wood Ducks took the lead early, and when the ballgame tightened, they rose to the occasion, running away from Salem 7-2 Wednesday night at Grainger Stadium.
The Wood Ducks (36-17) now own a 6.5 game lead in the Southern Division, and their magic number is down to 11, with Carolina losing to Winston-Salem.
The Woodies got on the board in the first inning. With two outs, Ryan Dorow reached on an infield single, and then Diosbel Arias was hit by a pitch. One batter later, Sam Huff lined an RBI single to left, putting Down East ahead, 1-0.
The Wood Ducks struck for another run in the third. Kutter Crawford (loss, 3-4) gave up a single to Leody Taveras followed by a walk to Dorow to begin the inning. Later in the frame, with the bases loaded, Huff bounced into a double play, scoring Taveras, and making it 2-0.
Crawford lasted five innings, giving up two runs on five hits, he walked four and struck out six.
The Wood Ducks continued to add on against the Salem (18-32) bullpen. In the sixth, Down East scored a run against Kris Jackson as Huff singled to lead off the inning, and one pitch later, Anderson Tejeda slapped a double down the third base line to make it 3-0.
The Red Sox did not get to Jason Bahr (win, 4-1) until the seventh inning. That’s when he gave up a one out walk to Nick Lovullo. Jarren Durran followed with a two run home run to right, his third of the year, ending the night for Bahr, and cutting the lead to 3-2.
The righty however delivered his third quality start of the season, giving up just two runs over 6.1 innings, he gave up seven hits and two walks, and struck out seven.
The Woodies responded immediately. Yonny Hernandez and Dorow reached base in the seventh on a walk and a hit by pitch respectively. Arias then followed with a two run double to the gap in right center, pushing the lead back to three. One batter later, Huff launched his third Wood Ducks home run, and 18th of the season, pushing the lead to 7-2.
Cole Uvila worked around trouble stranding two in the seventh and three in the eighth for 1.2 scoreless innings. Michael Matuella then followed with a scoreless ninth, stranding a pair on base. Overall, Salem went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 on the night.
Game two of the four game series takes place tomorrow night at 7 p.m. when lefty John King (0-0, 2.00) makes his fourth start for the Woodies, opposite fellow lefty Jhonathan Diaz (2-4, 7.52) for Salem. It’s Thirsty Thursday at Grainger Stadium, with $1 Natural Light and Busch Light cans, presented by Budweiser. The pregame show will begin at 6:50 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.