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Avina Homers in Game 1 Loss to Down East

Jace Avina homered and Juan Baez had a RBI triple in the series opening loss
Carolina's Jace Avina homers in Game 1 of Carolina League North Division Series on September 12 at Five County Stadium. (Credit: Neal Hock)
September 12, 2023

Down East Wood Ducks 4 @ Carolina Mudcats 3 September 12, 2023 | Venue: Five County Stadium | First pitch: 6:32 PM | T: 2:30 | Att: 1,815 | Box Score DE: 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 8 1 CAR: 0 1 0 1 0

Down East Wood Ducks 4 @ Carolina Mudcats 3
September 12, 2023 | Venue: Five County Stadium | First pitch: 6:32 PM | T: 2:30 | Att: 1,815 | Box Score

DE: 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 8 1
CAR: 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 0

WP: D.J. McCarty (1 - 0) LP: Chase Costello (0 - 1) SV: Paul Bonzagni (1)

ZEBULON, N.C. – Jace Avina hit a solo home run in the second and Juan Baez tripled in a run in the fourth, but the Down East Wood Ducks rallied for three two-out runs in the sixth and scored a run in the eighth while edging the Carolina Mudcats 4-3 in Game 1 of the Carolina League North Division Series on Tuesday night at Five County Stadium.

The Wood Ducks (1-0) took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 playoff series with Tuesday’s road victory in Zebulon, N.C.. Following Wednesday’s scheduled off-day, the series will continue on Thursday night with the Wood Ducks hosting the Mudcats (0-1) at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. Game 3 would be played on Friday at Grainger Stadium if necessary.

Brock Porter started for the Wood Ducks and allowed Avina’s home run in the second and Baez’s RBI triple in the fourth. Porter ended up pitching through the fifth and allowed just the two runs on five hits over five full innings. He also struck out eight, but left with Carolina up 2-0.

Logan Henderson started for the Mudcats and was able to get through five scoreless innings before allowing three Down East runs in the sixth. Henderson started the sixth with two quick outs, but then gave up a two-strike single to Miguel Villarroel before walking Konnor Piotto and then allowing a game-tying two-run triple to Ian Moller.

Henderson was pulled after Moller’s triple, but reliever Chase Costello went on to allow a go-ahead RBI single to Gleider Figuereo while seeing the Wood Ducks take a 3-2 lead.

After Costello worked a scoreless top of the seventh, the Mudcats went on to tie the game at 3-3 when Gregory Barrios singled and scored on a two-out error by second baseman Devin Hurdle. Barrios also advanced to second earlier in the inning while tagging on a deep flyout to center by Kay-Lan Nicasia.

With Costello still in, the Wood Ducks broke the tie and took a 4-3 lead in the eighth when Piotto drove in JoJo Blackmon from second with a go-ahead RBI double. Blackmon doubled to start the eighth as the Wood Ducks rallied for a run on two hits to take the late lead. Reliever Bayden Root eventually took over for Costello in the eighth and left an inherited runner on base before later pitching a scoreless ninth.

Down East relievers Alberto Mota, D.J. McCarty and Paul Bonzagni worked the final four innings while combining to hold Carolina to just one unearned run and two hits the rest of the way.

Mota allowed a hit, but worked a scoreless sixth. McCarty (W, 1-0)(BS, 1) allowed a hit and an unearned run over two innings while earning the win. Bonzagni (S, 1) then closed it out with a three-up and three-down ninth.

Down East: Avina (1, 2nd inning off Porter, 0 on, 2 out).

Down East: Villarroel (1, 2nd base off Henderson/Sibrian); Cueva (1, 2nd base off Root/Sibrian).

Moller, C (Down East): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Piotto, DH (Down East): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Cueva, SS (Down East): 2-for-4, 1 2B
Avina, LF (Carolina): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Baez, J, 3B (Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Barrios, SS (Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 R

Porter (Down East): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO
Mota (H, 1) (Down East): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
Bonzagni (S, 1) (Down East): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO
Henderson (Carolina): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Costello (L, 0-1) (Carolina): 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Root (Carolina): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO

Mudcats 2nd (Mudcats 1, Wood Ducks 0) -- Juan Baez grounds out, Brock Porter to Anthony Calarco. Tayden Hall strikes out swinging. Jace Avina hits a home run to left-center field on a 2-0 pitch. Gregory Barrios singles to right field. Kay-Lan Nicasia strikes out swinging. (1 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)

Mudcats 4th (Mudcats 2, Wood Ducks 0) -- Jose Sibrian singles to deep shortstop. Juan Baez triples to right field, Jose Sibrian scores. Tayden Hall grounds out, Danyer Cueva to Anthony Calarco. Jace Avina strikes out swinging. Gregory Barrios grounds out, Danyer Cueva to Anthony Calarco. (1 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)

Wood Ducks 6th (Wood Ducks 3, Mudcats 2) -- Quincy Scott strikes out swinging. JoJo Blackmon lines out to Dylan O'Rae. Miguel Villarroel singles through the hole at shortstop. Miguel Villarroel steals 2nd base. Konner Piotto walks. Ian Moller triples to left-center field, Miguel Villarroel scores; Konner Piotto scores. Pitcher Change: Chase Costello replaces Logan Henderson. Gleider Figuereo singles to right-center field, Ian Moller scores. Anthony Calarco strikes out swinging. (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)

Mudcats 7th (Wood Ducks 3, Mudcats 3) -- Pitcher Change: D.J. McCarty replaces Alberto Mota. Gregory Barrios singles to left-center field. Kay-Lan Nicasia flies out to JoJo Blackmon, Gregory Barrios to 2nd. Dylan O'Rae grounds out, Danyer Cueva to Anthony Calarco, Gregory Barrios to 3rd. Jadher Areinamo reaches on fielding error by Devin Hurdle, Gregory Barrios scores. Jesus Chirinos flies out to JoJo Blackmon. (1 Runs, 1 Hits, 1 Errors, 1 LOB)

Wood Ducks 8th (Wood Ducks 4, Mudcats 3) -- JoJo Blackmon doubles to left-center field. Miguel Villarroel pops out to Jesus Chirinos. Konner Piotto doubles to right field, JoJo Blackmon scores. Ian Moller grounds out, Gregory Barrios to Jesus Chirinos, Konner Piotto to 3rd. Pitcher Change: Bayden Root replaces Chase Costello. Gleider Figuereo grounds out, Juan Baez to Jesus Chirinos. (1 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)