The Auburn Doubledays rode a six-run fourth inning to victory Saturday night, as they eked out the 7-5 win over the State College Spikes at Falcon Park in Auburn, N.Y.
The Spikes held a 5-1 advantage in the middle of the fourth, but Auburn pounded Spikes starter Paul Balestrieri for six earned runs that inning. (Balestrieri allowed seven runs in just under four full innings.) Reliever Steven Farinaro came in and dominated — allowing just one hit in 4 1/3 innings — but, by then, it was too late.
Auburn’s bullpen ensure the Spikes wouldn’t rally, as they didn’t allow a hit in the final three frames.
With the loss, the Spikes fall to 30-27 while the Doubledays improve to 22-33.
Player of the game
Auburn reliever David Smith: Designated hitter Kameron Esthay may have hit what would eventually prove to be the game-deciding RBIs, but it was Smith who came away with the pitching win and made sure the Spikes didn’t run away with the game. The Spikes led 4-1 after two innings when Smith entered the contest. Over the next four frames, he struck out five, allowed one run, scattered six hits and permitted no walks. The Spikes had all the momentum on their side after two — but Smith made sure that didn’t last any longer.
Bottom of the fourth: This is when the Spikes’ four-run lead became a two-run deficit. Three walks, one hit by pitch, an error and four singles led to the Doubledays’ outpouring of runs. With one out and the bases loaded, Andres Martinez’s single to center drove in two runs, and a sacrifice bunt by Juan Pascal then cut the deficit to 5-4. That was followed up by an RBI single by Austin Guibor and then a crucial line-drive single by Esthay, who drove in two runs and reached third on a throwing error. No one scored after the fourth inning.
State College Spikes at Auburn Doubledays, 2:05 p.m. Sunday: Spikes pitcher Andrew Summerville (3-0, 1.73 ERA) will look to continue his hot streak against Auburn’s Will Crowe (0-0, 3.12 ERA), who is set to make his fourth appearance this season. The two teams will finish up their series Sunday, before the Spikes return home Tuesday to host the Williamsport Crosscutters.