Late miscues bury RiverDogs in 5-4 loss to Fayetteville
Fayetteville, NC - Odalys Peguero mishandled Cam Fisher’s groundball to short with two outs in the eighth inning, allowing the Fayetteville Woodpeckers to score the decisive run in a 5-4 win over the Charleston RiverDogs on Friday night at Segra Stadium. The victory guaranteed the Woodpeckers of at least a split in the final series of the regular season.
The decisive inning began with the score tied 4-4. Matt Wyatt issued a leadoff walk to Jackson Loftin leading to the outfielder quickly stealing his 60th base of the season. Juan Santander’s soft groundball to the right side advanced the go-ahead run to third with only one out. Wyatt rebounded to strike out Pascanel Ferreras for the second out. Fisher then hammered a groundball over the mound directly at the shortstop Peguero. The hard roller took a wicked hop and handcuffed the infielder, bouncing away from him as Loftin crossed the plate with the final run of the game.
The RiverDogs (39-24, 66-63) took the first lead in a back-and-forth game by doing damage with two outs in the opening inning. Fayetteville starting pitcher Amilcar Chirinos struck out the first two batters of the game, but lost his command quickly, walking both Colton Ledbetter and Peguero. After a mound visit, Julio Meza flipped an RBI single into right field as the RiverDogs grabbed a 1-0 advantage.
Starter Cade Halemanu went 3.0 scoreless innings, working out of two bases loaded jams. The right-hander has now worked 14.0 consecutive scoreless innings. Gerlin Rosario followed Halemanu, taking over in the fourth. Fayetteville (28-36, 58-72) immediately came to life with consecutive singles to open the frame. Rosario retired the next two hitters and had two strikes on Fisher, before the leadoff hitter crushed his third home run of the series to give the Woodpeckers a 3-1 lead.
The RiverDogs quickly responded against Sandy Mejia who made his debut with Fayetteville in the fifth inning. Carlos Colmenarez singled to begin the attack and moved to second base when Ryan Spikes worked a free pass. With two outs, Mejia walked Peguero and Meza to force in the first run. Cristopher Barete struck out with the bases loaded, but the third strike popped away from Santander as both Spikes and Peguero raced home to make it 4-3 Charleston.
Fayetteville tied the game in a wild seventh inning that featured Neraldo Catalina on the mound for the Dogs. The hard-throwing reliever walked Brice Matthews on four pitches to begin the inning. His first pitch to the next batter, Garrett Guillemette, went wildly to the backstop. Matthews jogged to second and was already standing on the bag when catcher Raudelis Martinez threw to second toward an unexpecting infield duo. The ball caromed into center field for an error and Matthews continued sprinting home when the ball was tossed lightly back to the infield.
Wyatt took the loss despite allowing only an unearned run in the eighth. Gerlin Rosario was charged with three runs in 3.0 innings out of the pen. Finally, Catalina surrendered one run in his lone inning with a a pair of walks and a wild pitch.
Fayetteville outhit the RiverDogs 6-5 in the victory. No player had multiple hits for the Woodpeckers, but Fisher’s home run was his third of the series. The RiverDogs received two hits and two runs batted in from first baseman Julio Meza.
The penultimate game of the regular season is scheduled between the same two clubs on Saturday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Santiago Suarez (1-2, 1.45) will make his final appearance of the regular season for the RiverDogs. The Carolina League leader in strikeouts, LHP Trey Dombroski (6-9, 3.71), will toe the slab for Fayetteville.
2023 playoff tickets are on sale now, along with group tickets, including options to the Segra Club at Riley Park via //riverdogs.com/tickets. The Segra Club is also open for events year-round. Visit segraclub.com for more information. The RiverDogs Food Truck is available for your next event! Contact the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS) for more information.
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