BATAVIA, N.Y. - The Auburn Doubledays rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth inning, and then held on for a one-run victory over rival Batavia on opening night of the 2012 season. Shortstop Stephen Perez's two RBI triple in the top of the ninth was the difference, as it broke open a 4-4 tie and gave the Doubledays a 6-4 cushion. The Doubledays held on to win 6-5.
Perez also gave Auburn its first lead since the second inning when he homered over the left field wall with one out in the top of the seventh. The homerun drove home DH Estarlin Martinez from second base, and put the Doubledays up 4-3 at the time.
Auburn originally took the lead in the second inning when Muckdogs starter LHP Ben Freeman threw a wild pitch with runners on the corners and one out. That sent Martinez home from third and put the Doubledays ahead 1-0.
Batavia answered in the bottom of the inning when they were helped out by two Auburn errors. The first occurred with a runner at first and no one out in the inning. Muckdogs 3B Patrick Wisdom sent a hard grounder to short, which Perez was unable to handle cleanly allowing Wisdom to get aboard. Then, after LF Gary Apelian struck out, 1B David Washington hit a sharp grounder to first that Doubledays 1B Shawn Pleffner was able to stop, but because of Washington's speed he had to rush his throw, which sailed out of play and into the seats. The scoring on the play was a hit and a throwing error, and the error allowed the first Muckdogs run to cross the plate.
Consecutive RBI singles later in the inning gave Batavia a 3-1 lead after two innings. All three runs were charged to Doubledays starter RHP Taylor Jordan (although only one was earned), who was making his first rehab start after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Jordan lasted 1.1 innings, surrendering three runs on three hits, walking one and striking out two.
The 3-1 Batavia lead stood until the top of the fourth, when the leadoff hitter in the inning RF Bandon Miller sent a rocket over the left field wall to pull Auburn within one. That's how the score remained until Perez's homer in the seventh. Freeman's final line for the Muckdogs was 6.1 innings pitched, six hits, three runs (all earned), one walk, and four strikeouts.
Getting the win for the Doubledays was RHP Jason Smith, who blew a save when he gave up a solo homerun to Washington leading off the bottom of the eighth, but he was bailed out by the Doubledays offense in the ninth. LHP Adam Bileckyj took the loss, as he allowed both runs in the ninth. RHP Cody Davis got the save for Auburn, despite surrendering a run of his own in the bottom of the ninth.
These two teams will battle again tomorrow night in Auburn when the Doubledays will send LHP Gregory Baez to the mound. He will square off against LHP Tyler Melling for Batavia. First pitch at Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park is scheduled for 7:05pm. Limited tickets are still available by calling the Doubledays box office at 315-255-2489 or going online to www.auburndoubledays.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.