Wood Ducks secure second-best single half record in Carolina League history
With the score tied 4-4 in the top of the eleventh inning, Yonny Hernadez lined a first-pitch single into right field to score Hasuan Viera, and send the Wood Ducks on to a 5-4 win over the Pelicans to close out the first half.
The Wood Ducks (50-20) finish the first half with the second-best record for a single half in Carolina League history, compiling the best mark since 1980 when the Peninsula Pilots went 51-19. The Wood Ducks also finish the first half going 7-1 in extra-inning contests.
The Woodies got out in front in the third. With the bases loaded and two out, Sam Huff rocketed a ball off the left field wall to score Tyler Depreta-Johnson, who led off the inning with a single, and Ryan Dorow, who walked, to put the visitors ahead, 2-0.
That ended the night for Erick Leal who threw 78 pitches in 2.2 allowing two runs on two hits, walked three, and struck out two.
Myrtle Beach (21-46) responded with a run in the third against Alex Eubanks. Grant Fennell singled to lead off the inning, and then he and Luke Reynolds moved into scoring position on a throwing error from Eubanks. Jimmy Herron would capitalize with an RBI single, but Eubanks would minimize damage by getting Miguel Amaya to bounce into an inning-ending double-play to keep the Woodies on top, 2-1.
Eubanks worked five innings, allowing just an unearned run on three hits, he walked one and struck out one, but did not factor in the decision.
Down East extended that lead in the fifth. Eric Jenkins led off with a single, and Leody Taveras followed with a walk. On a double-steal, Amaya threw the ball into left field to score Jenkins, and then Diosbel Arias came through with an RBI single to plate Taveras, making it 4-1.
In the sixth, Josh Advocate gave up a leadoff walk, and then Tyler Payne took him deep for a two-run home run, his fourth of the season to cut the lead to 4-3.
Payne would come through again for the Pelicans in the eighth, tying the game with an RBI single off of Scott Engler, to even the score at 4-4. Kevonte Mitchell would follow with a single, but Bubba Thompson threw out Amaya at the plate to keep the ballgame tied.
In the ninth Joe Kuzia (win, 3-0) came on and pitched around trouble to strand the winning run in scoring position. After the Wood Ducks went quietly in the top of the tenth, Kuzia would allow the winning run to reach third base with one out in the bottom half of the inning. However, the Woodies would intentionally walk two, loading the bases, and Kuzia got Fennell to bounce into a 6-4-3 double-play to escape the inning.
In the top of the eleventh, Viera started at second, moved to third on a balk, setting up Hernandez for the game-winner.
Cole Uvila (save, 2) would pick up his second save in three days with a scoreless bottom of the inning, retiring the Pelicans in order.
The Wood Ducks are off the next three days for the Carolina League All-Star break. The All-Star game will take place Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. in Frederick. Geoff Arnold will have the call on FrederickKeys.com and on the TuneIn Radio App. The Wood Ducks return home Thursday to host the Salem Red Sox at 7 p.m. It’s Thirsty Thursday with $1 Natural Light and Busch Light presented by Budweiser. For tickets and more information visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172.