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Loftin’s Dash Home in Ninth Seals Fayetteville’s Third Straight Win

August 24, 2023

Kinston, NC – For the second straight night at Grainger Stadium, the game came down to the legs of Jackson Loftin. With the game tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth Thursday night, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers single season stolen base record holder reached on an error, forced a bad

Kinston, NC – For the second straight night at Grainger Stadium, the game came down to the legs of Jackson Loftin.

With the game tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth Thursday night, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers single season stolen base record holder reached on an error, forced a bad pickoff attempt to advance to second, and ended up at third with two outs. Then Loftin saw a wild pitch get away and sprinted home to score the winning run and give the Woodpeckers (50-67, 19-31) their third straight win over the Down East Wood Ducks (61-51, 19-31), 5-4.

Both teams struggled to get offense early as the game was scoreless through five frames. Fayetteville starter Jose Guedez impressed on the mound, tossing four innings and striking out seven. On the other side, Wood Ducks starter Leandro Lopez went two scoreless innings to begin the ballgame.

Finally, the Woodpeckers turned on the power in the top of the sixth. Cam Fisher led off the inning with a walk before Garret Guillemette launched a two-run home run to left for his third home run of the season. Seconds later, Ryan Johnson jumped on one himself and made it back-to-back homers to give Fayetteville a 3-0 lead.

Down East wasted no time getting those runs back, however. Jose Fleury surrendered three in the bottom half of the sixth on a Gleider Figuereo RBI groudout and a Tommy Specht two run single to level things once again. The Woodpeckers got another big swing in the eighth with Luis Baez hitting a solo home run to briefly retake the lead, but again the Wood Ducks fought back as JoJo Blackmon delivered an RBI single to tie the score once more.

After Loftin scrambled home to give his team another one-run lead, it was up to Ian Foggo (W, 4-2) to get the final three outs in the bottom of the ninth. Foggo issued a leadoff walk to Specht, who moved up to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, the righty then surrendered a single to Anthony Gutierrez who quickly stole second to put the tying run at third and the winning run at second for Down East. But Foggo got Miguel Villarroel to fly out to Loftin in center to bring home the victory for Fayetteville.

The Woodpeckers aim to extend their winning streak to four on Friday night. RHP Andrew Taylor gets the start for Fayetteville opposite Wood Ducks RHP Joseph Montalvo. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 ET.

BOX SCORE: https://www.milb.com/gameday/728034/final/box