TROY, N.Y. - The Auburn Doubledays (1-2) allowed 11 runs to the Tri-City ValleyCats (2-1) over the final two innings Monday, losing by a final of 16-7 in game three of the New York - Penn League semi-finals. The loss eliminates the Doubledays from the playoffs, and sends the ValleyCats to the NYPL championship series where they will take on the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Tri-City entered the bottom of the seventh down 6-5 in what had been a back-and-forth game. The ValleyCats changed that by sending nine men to the plate in the seventh, collecting five runs on four hits, a walk, and a hit batter. The biggest hit was a bases clearing double by 1B Jesse Wierzbicki with the bases loaded and two outs. That hit gave Tri-City a 10-6 lead, and the ValleyCats never looked back.
Tri-City blew the game wide open in the bottom of the eighth, plating six runs after Auburn had cut its deficit to three in the top half of the frame. The ValleyCats sent 11 men to the plate in the eighth, and scored the six runs on just three hits, four walks, and one Doubledays error. Auburn pitching ended the game issuing a season-high 14 walks.
For the third time in the series, the Doubledays were able to get on the board in the first inning. Shortstop Mike McQuillan led off the game with a double to right. That was followed by a single off the bat of 2B Tony Renda, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Four batters later, and after back-to-back strikeouts and a walk to load the bases, RF Wander Ramos came through with a single up the middle, which brought home both McQuillan and Renda to make it 2-0 Auburn.
As would be the theme all evening, Tri-City was able to answer right away. In the bottom of the first DH Mike Cokinos hit a line drive double to right with runners on first and second and one out. Second baseman Austin Elkins scored on the double to give the ValleyCats their first run of the game. A walk to catcher Tyler Heineman then loaded the bases, and another walk to RF Preston Tucker pushed across the second run of the frame to knot the score at 2-2.
Each team scored a run in the third to tie the game for the second time. In the top of the inning 1B Shawn Pleffner scored from third on a single to left by Ramos. That was matched in the bottom of the frame when Elkins scored from third on a single to right by Heineman.
Tri-City proceeded to tack on a run each in the fourth and fifth to take a 5-3 advantage. In the fourth Elkins walked with the bases loaded to drive in LF Jarrod McKinney from third. In the fifth it was another bases loaded walk that drove in a run, with Heineman scoring and McKinney getting the RBI.
The Doubledays tied the game for the third time by plating two runs in the sixth. Center Fielder Narciso Mesa hit a one out triple to right. He then scored from third on a sacrifice fly to right by catcher Spencer Kieboom. That was followed by back-to-back doubles by McQuillan and Renda to knot the score at 5-5. Auburn then broke that tie in the top of the seventh with an RBI single from 3B Carlos Lopez.
The Doubledays used six pitchers total, and it was RHP Cody Davis (0-1) who came away with the loss. He gave up four earned runs on two hits and one walk in 2.2 innings. Starting LHP Nick Lee lasted just 0.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on one hit and four walks. LHP Jeremiah Meiners (1-0) got the win for Tri-City. He went two innings allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. RHP John Neely pitched 1.1 innings to record the save, since he entered when it was a three-run game.