With each of their last two games decided by just one run, the Doubledays shouldn’t have expected anything but a down to the wire matchup on Monday against the Black Bears. It took an all-around effort to secure Auburn’s (14-9) 6-5 win against West Virginia (10-14), with the Doubledays’ biggest contributor being one of the most unlikely.
Auburn starter Aaron Fletcher went two innings for the third time this season and, like his previous outings, put up solid results all around. He allowed just one hit and tied his season-high of three strikeouts against the Black Bears.
Cody Wilson – after breaking out of his season-long slump last night when he went 3-for-4 with a walk – had another big night at the plate. He barrelled up a single during his first at bat and then came around to score thanks to a combination of heads up baserunning and his naturally gifted speed.
After Kyle Marinconz singled behind Wilson to put him on second base, Auburn’s right fielder hustled to third when Adalberto Carrillo put the ball into play. Fielded by shortstop Connor Kaiser to force Marinconz out at second, Wilson simply kept on running to score the first run of the game.
The close play at the plate caused West Virginia head coach Kieran Mattison to have a heated chat with home plate umpire Roberto Pattison, which ended with Mattison getting tossed.
The Doubledays scored single runs in the fourth and fifth before putting up their first crooked number of the night in the sixth. But while Auburn’s two runs scored in the inning appeared to be enough to seal the win, they failed to pick up that one big hit to give them the breathing room they would eventually need later on in the game.
With the bases loaded, Telmito Agustin blooped a soft single that proved to be a little too soft. None of Auburn’s baserunners read the ball off the bat well enough, and Marinconz, the runner at third, was thrown out at home.
Carson Shaddy walked to bring in a run and Jacob Rhinesmith collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly, but Jamori Blash – entering the day in the midst of a 3-for-26 slump – popped out to the shortstop to end the inning.
Auburn’s 5-1 lead after six frames nearly disappeared in the home half after pitcher Angel Guillen plunked Connor Kaiser and a fielding error by Kyle Marinconz put two runners on. A single by Raul Siri loaded the bases, and a triple by Robbie Glendinning cleared them to bring the Black Bears to within one, 5-4.
But while the Doubledays escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth, they were unable to stop the tying run from scoring. Siri once again came back to haunt Auburn, this time with a ground-rule double to bring in Kaiser to tie the game, 5-5.
It was up to Cody Wilson to keep the Doubledays alive with two outs and a runner on in the top of the ninth. The owner of a .091/.130/.136 line before yesterday’s game, his critical at-bat quickly became the biggest one of Wilson’s short pro career.
🎧 HIGHLIGHTS 🎧
That's what Black Bears fans must have been thinking as they watched their win drift away. 😎https://t.co/ZIp4zxXbE1
— Auburn Doubledays (@Doubledays) July 10, 2018
With one quick swing of the bat, be drove in the go-ahead run and secured Auburn’s second straight series victory against the Black Bears this season. Auburn is now 5-1 vs. West Virginia this season.
The Doubledays have an off day and will be back in action Wednesday at Falcon Park when they take on the Lowell Spinners, affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, at 6:30. Gates open at 5:30 pm with the “Winning Wednesday” promotion, and $2 Hofmann hot dogs all night! If you can’t make it to the park, listen LIVE on FL1 Radio.
By Chris Valentino Tril / Auburn Doubledays