Pena Homers in Doubledays Win over Black Bears
AUBURN, NY - With a 33.33% strikeout rate and only two extra base hits through his first 28 games, to say that Landerson Pena was having trouble putting balls into play was an understatement. But with one swing of the bat, Pena reminded Falcon Park that - when he makes contact - he has the potential to drive the ball really, really, really far.
A two-run home run in the fourth inning was the buffer that the Doubledays (23-40) needed to take the opening game of their series against the West Virginia Black Bears (34-29), 5-2.
The Doubledays scored all their runs off Black Bears starter Michael Burrows, three of which came in the very first inning. Burrows found himself throwing from the stretch right away as a throwing error that put leadoff man J.T. Arruda on base, and a walk to Jose Sanchez put two runners on for Albert Carrillo. He singled on a fly ball to bring in Arruda and - with still nobody out - Eric Senior knocked in Sanchez to give Auburn an early 2-0 lead.
After a mound visit and a three-pitch punch-out of Onix Vega, Jack Dunn extended the lead to 3-0 by hustling on what looked to be a very close double play. West Virginia second baseman Cory Wood recorded the first out at second but threw offline to first, allowing Dunn to reach and another run to score.
Eddy Yean, a freshly promoted 18-year old from the Gulf Coast League, gave up a pair of solo runs (one of which unearned) but otherwise had a fantastic first start for the Doubledays. Two straight walks and a throwing error put runners on second and third to kick off the top of the second inning, but two prompt strikeouts put Yean back in the driver's seat. But it was a balk that gave the Black Bears their first run of the game, bringing in Matt Gorski and advancing Cory Wood to third. Yean ended the inning on a groundout to end the inning.
Auburn was held off the board in the second and third innings but got the action started again in the fourth on a leadoff walk from Wilmer Perez. A Jeremy Ydens strikeout brought Pena to the plate, and what followed was a loud crack of the bat that resonated in Falcon Park. Pena pulled his 3-2 pitch deep to left field for a no-doubt home run to give the Doubledays a 5-1 advantage.
Yean ended his outing by allowing an RBI single in the fifth, but Jordan Bocko and Trey Turner led the Doubledays the rest of the way with four combined shutout innings. Turner - who entered the game with a 9.00 ERA and 14 walks in just 11 innings - was awarded the six-out save while striking out five.
The Doubledays will be back in action Friday at 5PM for a doubleheader against the Black Bears. Listen in on the action on fingerlakes1.com, milb.streamguys1.com, or the TuneIn app.
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