Wood Ducks lose pitcher's duel at Buies Creek

Wood Ducks lose pitcher's duel at Buies Creek

Story courtesy of Dominic Cotroneo / Down East Wood Ducks

Pitching took center stage on Wednesday as Buies Creek (14-7 second half, 51-39 overall) edged the Down East Wood Ducks (9-12, 44-47) by a 3-1 final. Walker Weickel of the Woodies had a no-decision, tossing five shutout innings, but was outdone by Astros starter Patrick Sandoval.

The southpaw tossed seven one-hit innings and is yet to allow a run in 16 innings at the High-A level. He earned his second win in as many starts while also collecting eight strikeouts. Josh Altmann had the only hit off Sandoval with a double in the fifth inning.

Weickel walked a tightrope early with the bases loaded and two outs in the first. He induced a pop-out in the infield to Jake Adams to leave three stranded. He would go on a run of eight consecutive batters retired from there.

While the Woodies put runners on the corners with walks in the fourth, it was their only real threat against Sandoval. Weickel was finished after five and gave way for Christian Torres, who worked a scoreless sixth inning which included a pickoff at first to retire the side.

He did not have as much success in the seventh with a hit-by-pitch and a single. Torres was lifted for Jairo Beras with a runner on third and one out. With the infield in, a ground from Bryan De La Cruz was fielded by Altmann but he threw wide of home to allow the run to score and De La Cruz to reach second. He would score on an RBI single form Osvaldo Duarte later in the frame.

The Woodies punched back in the eighth with a two-out, two-strike RBI single from LeDarious Clark, to trim the lead to one. However, the Astros added a sacrifice fly in the eighth aided by a pair of walks to restore the two-run lead.

The Woodies look to take the series in the finale on Thursday at 6 p.m. Emerson Martinez will start for the Woodies and close out the nine-game road trip in which the Woodies are currently 3-5.

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