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Doubledays drop series opener at West Virginia

The Doubledays’ “never-give-up” attitude during Sunday afternoon’s matchup against the West Virginia Black Bears was a refreshing sight to see. Trailing on three separate occasions, Auburn’s offense bailed out it’s pitching multiple times by forcing three ties and eventually extra innings.

But the Black Bears proved more resilient in the end. A walk-off single won it for West Virginia, with the Doubledays falling, 5-4 in 10 innings.

Doubledays starting pitcher Niomar Gomez was not at his best Sunday afternoon. He went five innings in his third start for the Doubledays since getting called up from the Gulf Coast Nationals and gave up season highs in both earned runs (4) and hits (9). He was hit hard right out of the gate – giving up two straight hits to start the first inning and had both runners move up after a passed ball. A ground ball hit to second baseman Carson Shaddy brought in the runner from third instead of starting an inning-ending double play, and an infield single the following at-bat scored the second run.

The Doubledays closed the gap over the course of the game’s first four innings, scoring solo runs in the third and fourth to even the scoring at 2-2. Speedster Ricardo Mendez started the action with a one-out single and promptly swiped second. Cody Wilson – who ended the night with a career-high four hits – advanced him to third on a single, and with Shaddy batting, the pair pulled off a double steal to cut the Black Bears’ lead to one.

Auburn orchestrated some more small ball the following inning by loading the bases with two singles and a walk. Jose Sanchez drove in the run from third on an RBI groundout before Mendez flew out to end the inning. The remainder of the contest became a game of cat and mouse as the Doubledays fell behind and forced two more ties. A sacrifice fly put the Black Bears ahead, 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth, while a Jacob Rhinesmith single evened the everything back up in the 5th.

It took some time for Auburn to come back from West Virginia’s go-ahead run in the home half of the inning. Fabricio Macias hit an RBI double off of Gomez to bring home Brett Kinneman, and the Black Bears took their lead all the way to the ninth. But, down to their last out, the Doubledays remained resilient. Back-to-back singles put a runner in scoring position for Carson Shaddy, where he delivered with an RBI single up the middle to tie the game once again. Aaron Barrett tossed a perfect ninth inning to keep Auburn’s hopes alive and force extras.

The Doubledays’ good fortune, however, would end there. Auburn could not bring in their placed runner at second base in to score, and Gilberto Chu could only record one out before giving up the go-ahead single to drop the game.

The Doubledays will be back in action Monday against the Black Bears at 7:05 PM. Listen LIVE on FingerLakes1.com Radio.

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