AUBURN, NY — With a runner on first and one out in the ninth inning, trailing by only one run in front of a packed house, Doubledays left fielder Jake Randa took a called strike two that neither he nor the fans at Falcon Park cared for. Randa, visibly frustrated, returned to the box and struck out looking on yet another questionable call, shouting at home plate umpire Jesse Busch and getting tossed from the game.
The ninth inning wrapped up what was yet another tough loss for the Doubledays (9-10) as Auburn dropped game one of their four-game series against the first place Batavia Muckdogs (12-7).
Doubledays starter Niomar Gomez and Batavia’s Julio Frias battled on the mound in an exciting pitcher’s duel. Frias bent first after allowing a two-out single to Jake Randa in the second inning. JT Arruda, the Doubledays’ runner on first, made a surprising dash home on the hit-and-run and scored on a throwing error by Batavia shortstop Dalvy Rosario.
Gomez entered the game with a shiny 1.23 ERA but could not record a shut-down inning in the third. He allowed a leadoff home run to Michael Hernandez, then, after giving up a single, allowed a triple to Rosario.
Auburn managed to tie the game back up in the fourth inning after Caldioli Sanfler and Wilmer Perez roped back-to-back doubles. Arruda got on base once again with a single but broke up the momentum with a botched steal attempt. After catching Arruda in a pickle, second baseman Jack Strunc made a heads up play to the plate to catch Perez trying to steal home. The Doubledays had a chance at redemption after a hit by a pitch and a passed ball put runners on second and third, but a Jake Alu strikeout promptly ended the inning.
Gomez was relieved by Davis Moore to start off the sixth inning. Moore got off to a shaky start after walking two and having both runners steal on him. A run scored on a groundout, but the damage was limited to just one run after Moore got Kobie Taylor to bounce out to first base.
That run, however, was enough for the Muckdogs to put away the Doubledays. Batavia pitchers blanked Auburn for the last five innings of the contest while allowing just three hits. After Randa’s called strike three, Jake Alu struck out to end the game.