Doubledays Drop Series Opener in State College
After an early morning bus trip to State College, PA, the Doubledays didn't seem to mind an extra hour of rest. Auburn pounced for an early lead against the Spikes as soon as the ominous black clouds that prompted a weather delay at Lubrano Park gave way. But that lead, just like the delay, was short lived.
The Doubledays (21-38) fell to the Spikes (31-30), 6-5, as Auburn failed to halt State College's comeback bid in the late innings.
The Doubledays quickly found themselves with a 3-0 lead after three innings after Ricardo Mendez set the pace with a double to start the game. Auburn's All-Star outfielder ended up at third base thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Jose Sanchez, and came around to score when J.T. Arruda lined a 2-1 pitch to centerfield for his fifth triple of the season. Onix Vega brought him home on a sacrifice fly two pitches later.
Following two scoreless innings from starter Todd Peterson, the Doubledays led off the third inning with Albert Carrillo on second with some help from a passed ball. Mendez followed with a walk,and Carrillo came in to score on a Sanchez single to left field. A groundout from Arruda advanced both runners into scoring position with just one out, but Spikes pitcher Jeremy Randolph was able to escape the inning with minimal damage.
The inability to tack on those insurance runs came back to haunt Auburn, as State College closed the gap with a two-spot in the home half and took the lead in the fourth inning. It was Peterson's least effective - and shortest - outing of the season, as the LSU product went only four innings while allowing as many runs (though one was unearned).
Two walks and a forceout at second put runners at the corners for the Spikes in the third, with a hit-by-pitch juicing the bags for Terry Fuller. Peterson got him chasing for the second out, but could not escape the jam as Andrew Warner swatted a 1-2 pitch to right field to score a pair.
Peterson struck out Donivan Williams to open the bottom of the fourth but a passed ball allowed him to reach base. The miscue would prove costly as a first-pitch double brought him in to score, and a first-pitch single by the following batter gave the Spikes their first lead of the night. Espinal followed with a single of his own, but Peterson was able to limit the damage as he retired the next three batters.
Onix Vega made up for his passed ball with an RBI single to tie the game the following half inning, and the Doubledays retook the lead in the sixth on a sacrifice fly that allowed Andrew Pratt to cross the plate. But, just like the third inning, Auburn pitching was unable to secure a crucial shutdown inning.
Trey Turner - in his second inning of work - led off the sixth inning with a hit batter. A double put the tying run at third base for Moises Castillo, who brought him in on a groundout. Gilberto Chu took over pitching duties for Auburn in the seventh inning and, despite retiring the first two State College batters in the inning, allowed the go-ahead run to score after three straight singles.
The Doubledays start the first game of a doubleheader against the Spikes on Sunday at 3:05PM.
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