KINSTON — A well-pitched game by both teams fell in the Blue Rocks’ (29-37) favor on Wednesday night at Grainger Stadium. The Wood Ducks (34-31) only allowed one earned run, but fell 2-1. Down East’s lone run came on Anderson Tejeda’s team-leading 11th homer of the year.
The game was expected to be a bullpen effort due to the recent roster movement, injuries, and scheduling (two doubleheaders in four days). Kaleb Fontenot had the start - only his fourth as a professional and his first since the 2016 season with the Spokane Indians.
Wilmington infielder Gabriel Cancel tagged him for two-out RBIs twice in the game, in the first and third innings. In the third, the run was unearned after Nick Heath reached on a Tejeda fielding error at shortstop.
Still, Fontenot turned in four walk-free innings with three strikeouts. In the bottom of the fourth, Tejeda made up for his mistake with an opposite field solo blast to left. He extends his Wood Duck record for homers in a half, already past the three-way tie for second between Charles Leblanc, Matt Lipka, and LeDarious Clark who each have nine homers.
The bullpen combo of Jacob Shortslef and Jacob Lemoine were terrific. Shorstlef struck out four over three innings of work, matching his season-high as a reliever. Lemoine retired all six batters he faced for the final two innings.
All four of the hits for the Woodies were for extra-bases as Leblanc and Melvin Novoa hit doubles and Josh Altmann ripped a triple to center. At night’s end the Woodies were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The loss puts the Wood Ducks in a single scenario to make the postseason: they first must win all five games in Frederick, AND Winston-Salem loses all four games at home against Wilmington, AND Buies Creek wins no more than two games against Potomac on the road. That would give both Winston-Salem and Down East 39 wins and the Woodies own the tiebreaker on only the Dash.
The final five games of the half are in four days in Frederick starting on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Right-hander Walker Weickel will start for the Woodies while the Keys’ starter is TBA.
Arrendondo named CL Pitcher of the Week
On Monday the Carolina League announced their players of the week for games played June 4th-10th. Down East RHP Edgar Arredondo was named as the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season.
Arredondo, 21, made his third start of the year against the Mudcats on Tuesday the 5th, but was still as dominant in his first two. He tossed seven innings and only allowed two hits while also fanning seven batters. It was also his 24th career start in 56 in which he did not allow a walk.
He already earned Pitcher of the Week honors for his start against Carolina on May 15th at Grainger Stadium. In three starts against Carolina this season, Arredondo did not allow a run in 19.1 innings pitched while collecting 22 strikeouts.
The south division All-Star’s ERA currently sits in seventh for the Carolina League. He also appears in the top five for the league in strikeouts per nine innings (4th, 10.31), fewest walks per nine innings (4th, 1.67), and total strikeouts (4th, 68).
Arredondo is the one of five Wood Ducks to ever earn “Pitcher of the Week” status from the Carolina League. He joins Pedro Payano, Jeffrey Springs, and Wes Benjamin who were honored during the 2017 season and Jonathan Hernandez this season, just last week.
After going the first five weeks of the season without an award winner, Arredondo started this streak of four weeks with a recipient for the Woodies. Anderson Tejeda was Player of the Week for the final week of May and Hernandez as the most recent winner.