The Auburn Doubledays (1-5) picked up their first win of the 2019 season with a doubleheader split against the Batavia Muckdogs (3-3) on Wednesday night at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia. The Muckdogs took game one by a score of 5-4 in 11 innings while the Doubledays emerged victorious in a seven-inning game two with a 5-0 shutout win.
The first two runs of the game were scored on Saturday night in the top of the first inning against Batavia starter Andrew Miller. Phil Caulfield dashed home on a sacrifice bunt from Caldioli Sanfler and Wilmer Perez touched the plate on an Onix Vega RBI single before the game was called after just a half inning of play.
The game picked back up in the bottom of the first inning with the Doubledays on top 2-0 and the Muckdogs’ bats taking on Auburn starter Leif Strom. Batavia’s JD Orr led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. After a Dalvy Rosario strikeout and with Peyton Burdick at the plate, Orr, college baseball’s top base stealer in 2019, took off for second base. Strom quickly hopped off the mound to toss a pickoff attempt to first base, but the throw got away and rolled out of play, allowing Orr to move to third. Later in the at-bat, Burdick tapped an infield single to shortstop, plating Orr and cutting the Doubledays’ lead to 2-1.
That lead would not last long, however. After Auburn went down 1-2-3 in the top of the second, Batavia left fielder Brayan Hernandez stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom half. He proceeded to send a 2-2 pitch from Strom over the left-field fence for his first home run of the season, knotting the game at two runs apiece.
Auburn took the lead right back in the top of the fifth inning against Edgard Martinez. Doubledays shortstop Jesus Morales led things off with a double to left field and moved up to third two batters later when Caulfield shot a laser single into right. On the next pitch, Perez flied out to center field, but the ball was plenty long enough to bring Morales in to score on the sacrifice fly, giving the Doubledays the lead back at 3-2.
Batavia would threaten to climb back into the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Nic Ready singled and Igor Baez reached on an error with just one out, but Doubledays reliever Bobby Milacki set down the next two Muckdogs on a flyout and a strikeout to extinguish the threat and retain the lead.
Just an inning after Milacki stepped up big, the defense behind him stepped up even bigger in the eighth. Starting center fielder Rafael Bautista was lifted from the game for Eric Senior which slid Sanfler into center and saw senior replace him in left. With Milacki back to the mound, Orr led off the frame with a single into center. Orr then moved up 90 feet in the next at-bat on a sacrifice bunt from Rosario. Two batters later, Evan Edwards came to the dish. The NC State product smacked a single back up the middle and into center field. Orr charged around third, looking to score a game-tying run, but Sanfler came up firing and nailed the speedster at home plate to retain the lead and head to the ninth.
Despite all of that effort to maintain the advantage, the win was not to come in regulation for Auburn. Fray Perez checked into the game for his season debut in the bottom half of the ninth and promptly retired the first two batters he faced. He was not so lucky on the third. Baez pumped a 2-0 offering over the left-center-field fence to send the game to extras with a 3-3 score.
The Doubledays retook the lead in the top of the tenth against Geremy Galindez. Ricardo Mendez started the frame at second base per MiLB extra innings rules and was moved over to third on a Senior groundout. Caulfield plated Mendez in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to center field to give Auburn the lead back at 4-3.
The craziness continued in the bottom half of the inning as Perez headed back onto the bump. With Hernandez on at second, Perez struck out Gerardo Nunez and forced a groundout from Orr that moved Hernandez to third with two outs in the frame. Batavia was down to its final strike when Rosario smoked a double off the base of the left-field wall to plate Hernandez and retie the game at 4-4.
After a scoreless top of the 11th inning from the Doubledays, Batavia clinched the game bottom half. Burdick started the frame at second and advanced to third on a one-out infield single from Ready. In the next at-bat, Albert Guaimaro snuck a single into left field, scoring Burdick and giving the Muckdogs a 5-4 walk-off win in game one of the doubleheader.
When game two got underway 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one, a pitching duel breakout. Batavia left-hander Andrew Miller, who had started Saturday’s suspended game and could not get through the first inning, went five scoreless innings, scattering just five hits and striking out six.
Meanwhile, Auburn’s left-handed starter, Alex Troop, was just as good. The rehabber from A Hagerstown tossed three scoreless frames of one-hit baseball and struck out three before reliever Evan Lee followed with two scoreless innings of his own with just two hits on the ledger against him and striking out three.
The scoreless tie was broken in the top of the sixth inning and it was broken with a bang. Former No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek came on in relief of Miller and walked the first four batters he faced in Andrew Pratt, Anthony Peroni, Jake Randa and Jack Dunn with Pratt coming in to score on Pratt’s RBI walk. Bryce Howe then came on in relief of Kolek with the bases loaded and nobody out and J.T. Arruda at the plate. Arruda promptly unloaded the bases on the very first pitch he saw with a three-run triple to deep center field. Senior then followed that up with a triple of his own to give the DDays a 5-0 lead.
Batavia threatened to get right back in the game in the next inning, though. With one out in the inning, Lee gave up back-to-back singles to Milton Smith and Samuel Castro before he walked Burdick to load the bases. After a quick mound visit from pitching coach Franklin Bravo, Lee struck out Edwards for the frame’s second out. The Doubledays then turned to the bullpen to create a righty-righty matchup with the dangerous Ready and Pearson McMahan got him to pop out to first base on the first pitch of the at-bat to strand the bases loaded.
McMahan followed the impressive third of an inning with a scoreless bottom of the seventh to set down Batavia in the shortened second game of the doubleheader and put Auburn into the win column for the first time in 2019.
The Doubledays and Muckdogs are back in action again on Thursday night, but this time the clubs will square off at Falcon Park for the first time this season at 7:00 p.m. RHP Niomar Gomez is set to get the start for Auburn. Batavia is scheduled to counter with RHP Remey Reed in an opening night rematch. You can catch all the action on FingerLakes1.com Radio.
By JD Raucci / Auburn Doubledays