Batavia, NY - After tying the game at four runs in the sixth on a three-run home run by Russell Moldenhauer, the Auburn Doubledays couldn't hold the Batavia offense in check. The Muckdogs scored a run in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to lift themselves over the Doubledays, 7-5, on Saturday evening.
Despite the loss, Auburn's magic number dropped to four games, as second-place Williamsport lost at State College.
With Brian Dupra making the start for Auburn just outside his hometown of Rochester, there were plenty of Doubledays fans in attendance. Unfortunately, the Batavia offense never let Dupra get settled in on the mound.
A leadoff double by Vance Albitz in the bottom of the first, followed by a walk to Danny Steinstra, led to the first two runs of the game for the Muckdogs on a two-RBI double by Jeremy Patton, putting Auburn down two early runs.
Batavia added another in the third when Patton drove in his third run of the game, this time on an RBI single that scored Danny Steinstra, propelling the Muckdogs to a three-run lead.
In the fourth, Auburn finally got on the board. Matt Skole led off the inning by blasting his fifth home run of the season over the wall in right field, making the score 3-1. That run was neutralized in the bottom of the inning when Vance Albitz singled into left, scoring Virgil Hill from second. Albitz was thrown out at second by Caleb Ramsey to end the inning, trying to stretch the single into a double.
As they have all year long, the Doubledays battled back.
Trailing by three runs in the top of the sixth, the Doubledays were in need of a crooked number. Thanks to Russell Moldenhauer, they found one.
With two runners on base, two outs in the inning, and two strikes against him, Moldenhauer drilled a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right, his fifth home run of the season. The three-run blast gave Auburn new life, tying the game at four all.
Unfortunately, from that point on, the game belonged to Batavia.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Muckdogs grabbed the momentum, using a throwing error by Doubledays' shortstop Bryce Ortega to get the leadoff man on before driving him in on a Virgil Hill RBI triple.
A leadoff single in the seventh by Albitz, followed by a pair of Ben Hawkins wild pitches, turned into the sixth run of the night for Batavia when Danny Steinstra singled him home.
In the eighth, a leadoff triple by David Medina gave Batavia their seventh run as he scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly.
The Doubledays added their fifth run in the eighth when Carlos Alvarez drew a bases loaded walk. But that was all Auburn got, stranding the bases loaded.
Muckdogs' closer Daniel Miranda finished off the Doubledays in the ninth, striking out two in a 7-5 Batavia win.
Kevin Jacob got the win in relief for Batavia, while Travis Henke took the loss for Auburn.
The Doubledays return home on Sunday when they meet the Muckdogs for the rubber-match in the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm at Falcon Park. For tickets, please visit www.auburndoubledays.com.