Granville, WV - After another long game at Monongalia County Ballpark, the Black Bears walked it off in the bottom of the 12th inning to beat the Doubledays 10-9 in Tuesday night's series finale.
With nearly twelve hours of baseball played in just over twenty-four, the Black Bears secured the series win over Auburn on a fielding error hit by C Ryan Haug to end the five-hour battle.
"(Playing games like this) is a great development opportunity for our guys and we're just very fortunate and also happy that we pulled off the win," said Black Bears manager Drew Saylor. "But we're not showing up until 4 tomorrow."
The Black Bears made their offensive presence known early in the game when they came in bats blazing off a lead-off single hit by CWS champion SS Ethan Paul. Then LF Matt Gorski stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat of the night and slammed a three-run homerun to bring home Paul and 1B Will Matthiessen. West Virginia ended the inning with a 3-0 lead.
They maintained their lead until the third inning, when Auburn scored three runs on its first three batters. But starting RHP Jesus Valles and his defenders held off the attack and allowed only one more hit that inning. A two RBI double from 3B Jared Triolo returned the lead to West Virginia who ended the fourth inning up 5-3.
From the seventh inning on, the teams engaged in a grueling back-and-forth scoring affair that lasted until the very end. The Doubledays found their first lead of the ballgame in the top of the seventh to go up 6-5, but were quickly answered by the steadfast Black Bears in the home half who tied it up at 6-6 on an RBI single by DH Kyle Wilkie.
The bottom of the ninth brought nail-biting tension as West Virginia took the lead off a ground-rule double hit by CF Brett Kinneman, who was then brought home on an RBI fielder's choice by Wilkie. The ninth inning would end with bases loaded and a score tied at seven.
RHP Francis Del Orbe -who recorded his second win of the season-replaced reliever Austin Roberts to start extra innings. Despite a go-ahead run scored by Auburn in the top of the tenth, Del Orbe held on and allowed no other runs that inning. The Black Bears tied the game again off a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th and would go on to score off an RBI single to tie the game 9-9 in the eleventh.
Finally, after twelve innings of baseball, West Virginia scored a run off a fielding error hit by Haug to win the game by a final score of 10-9.
"I thought he caught it initially. We got lucky. We got a good break there," said Haug. "It's exciting. We lost a tough home opener this series. But we bounced back, and to get this one was huge-to be able to take that series."
West Virginia's win over Auburn improves their record to 14-10 on the season, with five wins in the last six games. The Black Bears begin the second series of its six-game home stand on Wednesday, July 10, against the Aberdeen Ironbirds. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. To see a complete schedule, visit westvirginiablackbears.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.