BATAVIA, NY - It was another brutal eighth inning for the Doubledays in Batavia. Instead of a seven-run implosion, though, it was a series of hard-luck events that led to one game-winning run, as the Muckdogs beat the Doubledays 4-3 in front of 611 fans at Dwyer Stadium.
With the game tied 3-3, the Doubledays brought in lefty Cory Bafidis (0-1), who rejoined the team after a weekend with Single-A Hagerstown. After retiring the first batter he faced, Bafidis coaxed a groundball to third from Muckdogs cleanup hitter Kevin Grove. Grove's bat broke, and the barrel came flying straight at Auburn third baseman Cody Gunter, who had to dodge the flying wood while fielding the ball. After getting back to his feet, Gunter's throw was way too late to catch Grove, who stood on first with an infield hit. After Bafidis walked Victor Castro, shortstop Aaron Blanton hit a slow roller that just got through Gunter's outstretched glove and into left field for the game-winning hit.
The Doubledays had ample opportunity to score late in the game. Brenton Allen singled, Greg Zebrack walked and Bryan Mejia reached on an error to load the bases with nobody out in the seventh. But Osvaldo Abreu hit into a force at home, Drew Vettleson popped out to second, and Jose Marmolejos bounced out to Brian Anderson at second base to send Auburn to the stretch empty-handed. Later, with Allen on first and no one on in the ninth against Miguel Fermin (1-0), Greg Zebrack hit a bouncer up the middle that Blanton fielded while stepping on the bag. The ending was a foregone conclusion after the 2013 9th rounder completed the double play.
Batavia was up big early. Mason Davis walked against Doubledays starter Anderson Martinez to lead off the game, and Marlins 3rd round pick Brian Anderson hit a two-run first-inning home run with Davis on base for the second consecutive game. Davis tripled to lead off the third, and Anderson brought him in on a single to put the Muckdogs up 3-0.
The loss was all the more disheartening because of the Doubledays' fifth inning comeback. With two out and no one on, then-cruising Muckdogs starter Jorgan Cavanerio walked Allen, gave up a single to Zebrack, and then hung a breaking ball to Mejia, who crushed it down the line in right for a two-run triple. Abreu singled up the middle to tie the game.
Auburn (1-3) moves on to face the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (2-2) in a three-game set at Eastwood Field in Niles, OH. Nationals No. 6 prospect (by Baseball Prospectus) Jefry Rodriguez makes his Doubledays debut against Mahoning Valley's Juan Vizcaya. Coverage begins on 98.1 FM and 1590 AM WAUB at 6:50, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05.