AUBURN, N.Y. - The Auburn Doubledays (25-16) took a 9-0 lead into the ninth inning on Monday, and then were able to hang on for a 9-5 win over the Tri-City ValleyCats (30-12) in front of 1,454 at Falcon Park. The win ensured the Doubledays would not suffer their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Despite being down nine runs heading into the ninth, the ValleyCats managed to get the tying run to the plate with two outs. That's when Auburn closer RHP Derek Self came in and slammed the door, striking out CF Andrew Aplin to end the game and pick up his seventh save of the summer. Prior to Self's entrance both LHP Bryan Harper and RHP Michael Boyden worked in the inning, combining to face 10 batters in 0.2 innings and allowing five earned runs on five hits including a three-run homerun off the bat of 1B Jesse Wierzbicki.
The Doubledays began building their nine-run lead in the bottom of the second. With one out 2B Tony Renda singled on a ground ball to left field. That was followed by a single from catcher Craig Manuel. After 1B Carlos Lopez struck out swinging, SS Wes Schill brought Renda home with a line drive single up the middle. A wild pitch then allowed Manuel and Schill to both get into scoring position with 3B Kayyan Norfork at the plate, and Norfork made Tri-City pay by knocking a single to left that scored Manuel to put Auburn ahead 2-0.
The Doubledays lead was pushed to five in the third thanks to a walk and three consecutive single to begin the inning. The last of the three singles in a row was by Renda and drove in the first run of the frame. Then, consecutive sacrifice flies to left by Manuel and Lopez brought in the other two runs.
Auburn struck for three more runs in the seventh thanks in part to a long ball of their own. With Norfork aboard and no one out, LF Mike McQuillan connected for his second homerun of the summer to stretch the lead to seven. Four more hits followed, the last of which was another RBI single for Renda, giving him a three hit night.
The final Doubledays run came in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Norfork and McQuillan. LHP Brett Mooneyham (1-0) was the lucky recipient of this offensive outburst, while also doing his part in keeping the ValleyCats off the board for six innings to earn the win. RHP Brady Rodgers (4-2) got tagged with the loss as he allowed the first five Auburn runs on seven hits in six innings.
After an off day on Tuesday the Doubledays head to the Big Apple to begin a three-game series with the Staten Island Yankees on Wednesday, August 1. Auburn will send RHP Pedro Encarnacion (3-1) to the mound for his seventh start of the year. He will square off against LHP Evan Rutckyj (3-4) for Staten Island. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm. All Doubledays road games can be heard on WAUB 98.1FM and 1590AM, and online at www.fingerlakesdailynews.com by clicking on the WAUB stream under the "listen" tab.