KINSTON, NC – In yet another tight game against the Salem Red Sox in the young season, the Wood Ducks came through in the eighth inning on a Chuck Moorman RBI single to win 2-1 on Thursday night. Michael O’Neill scored the winning run, capping off his 3-3 night at the plate.
O’Neill was the first to score on the night with a solo home run to left field in the first inning – his second in as many games. The 1-0 pitch would be the only mistake Red Sox starter Daniel McGrath would make all night. He twirled six innings with no walks and five strikeouts. He would only allow one more hit, a bunt single to O’Neill in the fourth.
For the second consecutive night, the Wood Ducks received a quality start on the mound. Pedro Payano made his second start of the season and worked into the fifth inning with six strikeouts and no runs allowed. However he would end up with a no-decision for his efforts.
Brady Feigl relieved Payano in the sixth and struck out the only batter he faced to end the inning. In the seventh, Matt McLean ripped a sinking liner to left that Ledarious Clark charged in on, and subsequently lost in the lights. McLean ended up on second and would be bunted over to third by Deiner Lopez. Next was Bryan Hudson, and he singled into right field to tie the game at one.
The stress was not done in the seventh, as Josh Tobias singled, then a passed ball was charged to Moorman on a strikeout to put runners on second and third with two outs. Feigl would get Jose Sermo to strikeout to end the inning.
Blake Bass would work a scoreless eighth despite a leadoff infield single by Chad De La Guerra and a sac bunt. Two groundouts would end the threat. In the bottom of the eighth, O’Neill had a “swinging bunt” infield single and stole second base during Moorman’s at-bat with two outs. That set the stage for Moorman to drive a ball to right-center and score O’Neill.
Things got tense again in the ninth with Ricardo Rodriguez on the mound. A one-out walk and a balk put Hudson on second base with one out. Rodriguez would strikeout with Tobias and Ockimey on six consecutive pitches to seal the win for the Woodies.
With the victory, Down East (6-2) moves into a tie with the Buies Creek Astros for first place in the south division. Salem (3-5) has lost four of its five games to the Wood Ducks on the season – three of which in one-run fashion. On Friday the Wood Ducks throw lefty Jeffrey Springs (0-0, 0.00) against Red Sox right-hander Roniel Raudes (0-1, 11.25). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Grainger Stadium.