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Quality pitching, timely hits lead Woodpeckers to doubleheader sweep of Carolina


ZEBULON — Coming off a frustrating loss Tuesday night, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (21-32) bounced back in a big way on Wednesday at Five County Stadium as they won a pair of seven-inning games against the Carolina Mudcats (30-21).

Fayetteville hung on to take the first game by a 3-1 score before picking up a 5-2 victory in the second contest as the home team. 

The Woodpeckers got six scoreless innings from the duo of Nolan DeVos and Deury Carrasco (W, 3-2) to begin the doubleheader. DeVos went three and a third scoreless innings before giving way to Carrasco, who allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out three Mudcats. 

Fayetteville broke through offensively in the top of the third inning. Garrett McGowan led off with a double to center and made it to third with two away. After Jackson Loftin drew a walk, McGowan scored on a balk from Carolina starter Will Childers (L, 0-1), and Loftin stole third and came in on a bad throw to put the Woodpeckers up 2-0.

Loftin’s big game was not over as he homered for the second time in two days in the sixth to extend the lead. 

Kasey Ford (SV, 2) came on in the bottom of the seventh and ran into some trouble. A Mudcats walk, single, and double put the tying run at second with no outs in the inning. However, Ford struck out Kay-Lan Nicasia and then two more Carolina batters following another walk to help Fayetteville escape with the victory. 

Box score: https://www.milb.com/gameday/728328/final/box

Game 2 

Playing as the road team with the Woodpeckers making up a rained-out home game, Carolina took a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first on a passed ball by catcher John Garcia. Fayetteville got its answer in the bottom half as Ricardo Balogh hammered a solo shot to right off Aidan Maldonado (L, 1-5). It was Balogh’s second homer of the season and the Woodpeckers’ fifth as a team in the series. 

The Mudcats briefly went back in front in the top of the third on a Hedbert Perez RBI double, but Zach Cole responded in the bottom half with a double of his own to score Leosdany Molina and level the game again.

After Loftin and Balogh walked to load the bases, Narbe Cruz lined a single into left to bring home two more and make it 4-2 Fayetteville. Cole came through with another RBI double the following inning to push the lead to three. 

The run support was more than enough for the duo of Alimber Santa and Jeremy Molero (W, 1-0). Santa struck out seven batters over four and a third innings, surrendering just one earned run to go along with three walks and three hits. Molero took over in the top of the fifth and shut down Carolina’s offense over the final two and two thirds, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three. 

With the schedule returning to normal on Thursday night in Zebulon, the Woodpeckers aim for their third straight win, sending right-hander Nic Swanson to the mound. The Mudcats counter with right-hander Logan Henderson.

The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Box score: https://www.milb.com/gameday/728021/final/box.

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