(DOUBLEDAYS 7/13/19) — The second inning of Friday’s matchup between the Doubledays and Tigers saw five runs score with 10 combined base runners on only one hit, with both pitchers struggled mightily to find the strike zone. But it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.
The Doubledays (13-14) quickly settled down, taking the rubber game of their series against the Tigers (12-15), 7-5.
The Tigers struck first and scored three runs in the second inning off of Doubledays starter Carlos Romero. He walked Kona Quiggle on five pitched then nailed Cooper Johnson between the shoulder blades before walking Jose King to load the bases. He struck out Gresuan Silverio after a mound visit and appeared to have made the second out of the inning after Avery Tuck tapped a soft grounder to shortstop Jose Sanchez. Sanchez, however, threw off-target which allowed Tuck to reach and a run to score. Romero walked in another run, and a sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead going into the home half of the second.
Connecticut starter Carson Lance’s outing wasn’t any cleaner. After retiring the side in the first, Lance walked the bases loaded while throwing only two strikes in the second inning. The Doubledays got their first run on a sacrifice fly by Jeremy Ydens, and plated another on an Albert Carrillo double. Lance walked yet another runner to load the bases and was pulled in favor of Jake Baker, who but escaped after getting Sanchez to fly out.
Romero settled down some in the second but was replaced with Amos Willingham with two outs and a runner on second in the fourth inning. Willingham allowed his inherited runner to score but was lights-out the rest of the way through. After allowing the single that scored the run from second, he pitched three shutout innings while holding the Tigers hitless.
Willingham’s outing was enough to earn him the win as the Doubledays tied the game in the bottom of the inning and then exploded for four runs in the fifth. The Tigers, after quickly retiring Drew Ward and Caldioli Sanfler on strikeouts, walked the bases loaded with Jake Alu up to bat. Alu smashed a ball to deep center field for a triple that retook the lead for Auburn. Carrillo tacked on an insurance run, giving the Doubledays a 7-4 advantage.
Bobby Milacki replaced Willingham to start the eighth inning and, despite giving up a lone run in the ninth, notched his first save of the season.