Big seventh inning propels Woodies to win against Red Sox
Down East Wood Ducks starting pitcher Sal Mendez prepares to deliver a pitch to a Salem batter during Sunday's game at Historic Grainger Stadium. Although Mendez didn't receive a decision in the game, he contributed a strong scoreless effort with seven strikeouts while only giving up five hits and two walks in six innings of work. Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News
Matt Whatley’s two-RBI single and Franklin Rollin’s RBI double – all in the seventh inning – broke a scoreless tie and led the Down East Wood Ducks to a 3-1 victory against Salem in front of 1,293 fans on Sunday afternoon at Historic Grainger Stadium.
The big inning spoiled a strong effort by Red Sox starting pitcher Jake Thompson, who had shut down the Woodies (5-6 second half, 40-41 overall) to the tune of two hits over the first 6.2 innings.
But with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, third baseman Brendon Davis laced a single and designated hitter Alex Kowalczyk reached on an error to set up Whatley’s single down the right-field line. Rollin followed Whatley’s single with a double to score the Woodies’ final run and to chase Thompson from the game.
Davis and Rollin had two hits apiece in the DEWD’s seven-hit attack.
Starting pitcher Sal Mendez pitched a gem of his own for the Wood Ducks although he didn’t receive a decision in the contest. The southpaw scattered five hits over six innings, striking out seven and walking two while surrendering no runs.
Relief pitcher Blake Bass picked up his first victory of the season with 1.2 innings of relief, giving up one unearned run while striking out two. Michael Matuella earned his second save of the 2018 campaign by retiring all four Red Sox he faced.
Salem (5-5, 37-41) had seven hits of its own, led by Tyler Hill and Nick Sciortino with two hits each. Shortstop C.J. Chatham had his team’s lone RBI.
The teams – who have now split the first two games of their series – will play the third game of the four-game set on Monday. It’s dollar hot dog night at Historic Grainger Stadium; gates open at 6 p.m. and the first pitch is scheduled for 7.