Three Run Third Puts Staten Island A Win Away
In the first game of the best-of-three New York-Penn League Championship Series, the Staten Island Yankees used a three-run third and the pitching of Jason Stephens in a 6-1 win over the Auburn Doubledays to pull within one game of their third championship Wednesday night.
Taking advantage of consecutive two out errors by Auburn first baseman Nick Thomas and third baseman Jermy Acey, the Baby Bombers scored three unearned runs in the third off losing starter Robert Ray (4-4). After Ray retired the first two batters, Reegie Corona doubled to right to keep the frame alive. When Brett Gardner and Monday night hero Kyle Anson reached on consecutive errors, Corona came into score the game's first run.
Eduardo Nunez and Kyle Larsen then followed with runscoring singles to center making it a three run cushion for Stephens. It was plenty for Stephens (5-1), who allowed just a run in the sixth, going five and two thirds of four-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts.
Peter Pilittere added a solo homer in the fourth for a 4-0 lead.
After Stephens retired the first two in the sixth, Jacob Butler doubled to knock him out of the game. The Doubledays pushed across their only run when Brian Bormaster singled in Butler off reliever Steve Schroer. Schroer got Acey on a comebacker to end the inning.
Schroer, Michael Wagner, Cory Stuart and Josh Schmidt combined for three and a third scoreless relief innings to shutdown the Auburn offense, which pulverized Oneonta by a combined 33-9 in the previous series.
The Baby Bombers tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on a Gardner two-run double. Schmidt got Sean Shofitt to ground out to Larsen to end the game.
Staten Island will have two chances to clinch their third NY-Penn League championship starting Thursday night at home in Richmond County Ball Park. They won their previous two championships in '00 and '02. Game Three would take place Friday night at 7:05 PM if necessary.