TROY, N.Y. - The Auburn Doubledays (1-1) evened their New York - Penn League semi-final series against the Tri-City ValleyCats (1-1) on Sunday night at one game apiece, securing a 5-2 victory in front of 2,857 at Joseph L.Bruno Stadium. The win sets up a decisive third game that will take place on Monday September 10 at 6:00pm to determine which team will head to the New York - Penn League Championship series.
Auburn ended up scoring its winning run on Sunday in the first inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, DH Brandon Miller smacked a double down the left field line that rolled all the way to the outfield fence. Both 2B Tony Renda and 1B Shawn Pleffner scored on the double to put the Doubledays ahead 2-0. Miller's double was followed by a single by RF Wander Ramos, which drove in Miller to make it 3-0 Auburn.
The ValleyCats waited until the fifth to post their first run of the game. With one out CF Emilio King hit a double to right. He advanced to third on a passed by ball Doubledays catcher Craig Manuel, and then scored when SS Joe Sclafani singled up the middle. Tri-City added another run in the sixth to make it a one-run game. First baseman Jesse Wierzbicki led off with a walk. Two batters later DH Mike Cokinos singled to right, and that was followed by a single to left by LF Dan Gulbransen, which brought Wierzbicki home from third.
Auburn made sure one run was as close as Tri-City would get by scoring one run each in the seventh and eighth to put the game away. In the seventh 3B Mike McQuillan sent a solo shot over the right field wall for the Doubledays first homerun of the playoffs. Miller and Ramos did the damage again in the eighth, with Miller lining a two-out single into center field. Ramos then followed that up by driving a double to left, which allowed Miller to score from first to give Auburn what turned out to be its winning margin.
It was RHP Travis Henke (1-0) who picked up the win for the Doubledays. Henke pitched 1.2 innings in relief and allowed one earned run on two hits and one walk. RHP David Fischer started for Auburn and threw 4.1 innings, surrendering one earned run on three hits, walking four and striking out one. RHP Derek Self recorded the save, pitching a scoreless ninth. Starting RHP Brady Rodgers (0-1) suffered the loss for the ValleyCats. He lasted three innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, walking one and striking out two.
Auburn will send LHP Nick Lee to the mound for game three on Monday. He will go up against LHP Brian Holmes for the ValleyCats. The game 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.