Despite sitting on the bench for nearly three hours, Michael Sullivan came through when it mattered most.
Sullivan slapped a pinch-hit RBI single in the 11th inning Sunday to give the Oneonta Tigers a 1-0 victory over the Auburn Doubledays in Game 1 of their New York-Penn League first-round series.
Casper Wells, who went 3-for-5, and Christopher Carlson collected back-to-back singles and Michael Barbara walked to load the bases with none out for Sullivan.
"I came in there knowing I was going to get a good pitch," said Sullivan. "I know [Auburn reliever Nathan Melek] had to come in. The first pitch was right there. I swung and fouled it back. The second pitch was at the same spot and I didn't miss.
"This was the first walk-off hit I have had in my professional career. It's probably the top moment in my career."
Tigers starter Jonathan Kibler allowed just one hit and a walk while striking out a career-high nine over eight stellar innings. He retired 13 consecutive batters after Darin Mastroianni doubled in the fourth.
"I just got here and it's a good feeling to start the first game," said Kibler. "I didn't want to mess this up for the guys that have been here."
Kibler went 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA in seven games, including five starts, for the Gulf Coast League Tigers. The 21-year-old left-hander, who was drafted out of Michigan State in the 30th round,, had a 2.38 ERA in two regular-season starts with Oneonta.
"I knew we were going to win this game," said Kibler. "It was really our game to lose."
Erik Crichton gave up three hits and two walks while fanning two over 2 2/3 frames before Rudy Darrow (1-0) recorded the final out in the 11th for the win.
"I can only imagine the feeling of a loss of that kind of game," said Sullivan. "Their backs are up against the wall now and we have our best pitcher, Guillermo Moscoso, going for us tomorrow. He threw a perfect game for us [on July 15]."
Auburn's best chances to score came in the ninth and 10th, when its leadoff batters doubled.
Doubledays reliever Michael Barbara (0-1) was charged with a run on four hits and a walk while striking out three in two innings. Starter Brett Cecil scattered two hits and three walks while fanning five over five frames.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 95 minutes. Game 2 in the best-of-3 series is Monday in Auburn.