If you like offense, Eastwood Field was the place to be Thursday Night. At least for the first few innings it was, as the Scrappers and Doubledays engaged in an offensivedogfight in the first four frames. In the end, it was the Scrappers plane that was shot from the skies, as Auburn capitalized on walks and errors to win 12-5.
Early on, it was the Scrapper fleet that came through first, drawing first blood in the first inning. Hunter Jones got the first hit of the game, tripling with one out to force early action. Then his mate Joey Wendle delivered with an RBI single to snatch an early 1-0 lead.
In the second, the Doubledays responded with an aggressive counterattack, putting a four spot on the board against starter Luis Morel. Wander Ramos and Wes Schill reached via singles, giving Auburn men at the corners. Then with two outs, they got a big RBI double from Narciso Mesa to grab a 2-1 advantage. They weren’t done, as after a walk they got back-to-back RBI singles to left field to make it 4-2. Morel wouldn’t make it out of the inning, as Josh Martin replaced him with two outs. Morel finished with four earned runs on five hits in only an inning and two-thirds.
The Scrappers continued to battle, as they had a two-run second to cut the deficit. Aaron Siliga reached on a throwing error, and promptly trotted home when Juan Romero ripped a triple over the centerfielder’s head. Robel Garcia then made sure he wouldn’t be stranded at third, as he followed up with a single to cut it to 4-3.
After a brief seize fire in the third, the offenses resumed hitting, as each team put up two in fourth. The wounds to Martin in the fourth were mostly self-inflicted. He issued three walk in the frame, and was burnt when Shawn Pleffner doubled with two-outs to drive home a pair.
Both Scrapper runs came with two-outs as well, as Robel Garcia doubled with two down to ignite the rally. Then came three straight singles, from Jairo Kelly, Hunter Jones, and Joey Wendle to bring home two and make it 6-5.
After the fourth, both pitching staff’s settled down. Auburn picked up the only run prior to the ninth in the sixth, off of Rafael Homblert, who replaced Martin after five. The run came when Homblert allowed three straight singles that allowed a runner to cross home plate. The damage could have been worse, though, as with one out and runners on first and second, Jairo Kelly ranged to his right and made an off-balance throw to start a gorgeous 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
As had happened the night before, the Scrapper offense grew stale after the early productivity. They racked up ten hits in the contest, but only one of those came after the fourth. The only other base runners they had come via a single and a walk. Even so, there was still hope that in a two-run game the offense could manage a ninth-inning rally to at least force extra innings. That was before a disastrous top of the ninth ruined any hope of that happening.
James Stokes came on for Homblert in the ninth, and immediately walked his first batter, and then another with one out. Then came a scary moment with runners at the corners, as Wes Schill dribbled a ball to first baseman Erik Gonzalez. Instead of taking the sure out at first Gonzalez elected to come home in an attempt to cut down the runner. The throw came just as Brandon Miller reached the plate, and a nasty collision ensued that Lucas took the brunt off. The collision forced the catcher to drop the ball and allowed the run to score. Lucas was down for a minute or two, but he was able to recover and stay in the game.
The damage wasn’t limited to one run. Another base runner reached on an error byStokes that also allowed a run to cross, followed by three singles. When the smoke cleared, Auburn had tacked on five more runs, none of which were earned by Stokes. That eliminated any chance at a Scrapper comeback.
“Tonight we didn’t throw the ball over the plate too well,” said manager Ted Kubiak. “Morel and Stokes both had trouble with their control. We were in it and to a point we battled back, but we didn’t have enough hitting. The way the game is you almost have to have that, you have to have more offense to beat the defense.”
Taking the loss in the contest was Morel, while reliever Silvio Medina picked up the win. The Scrappers will look to bounce back tomorrow, as they welcome in the BataviaMuckdogs for two.