The Auburn Doubledays had plenty of chances to capitalize, and they did just enough to beat the Batavia Muckdogs 6-3 Wednesday at Falcon Park.
The Doubledays left the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings, and stranded 13 runners total. For a young team still finding its stride, Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said his team was fortunate.
"It's early in the season, we'll work on it a lot," he said. "Those at-bats with runners in scoring position are always important."
But Cathcart did see some positives in his team's at-bats throughout the game. The Doubledays combined for seven hits, but drew nine walks.
"I did like our approach," Cathcart said. "We stayed patient, didn't chase many pitches."
Orlan makes pro debut
Robert Orlan began his professional debut with a deliberate pace.
The Auburn starter, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, got the first two outs in 10 pitches. Then the trouble started.
A walk and a pickoff ended the first, but Orlan then led off the second with back-to-back free bases.
A timely strikeout, a fielder's choice, and a flyout sandwiched another walk, and Orlan managed to get out of the inning without any damage on the scoreboard.
"After that long inning in the second, I talked to one of my teammates and he helped me out," Orlan said, admitting he had problems with his command. "He told me to keep attacking with my fastball."
The Doubledays offense batted around and hung four runs on the Muckdogs in the bottom of the second, giving Orlan some breathing room. He finished with three hits, five walks and two strikeouts over four scoreless innings.
"It's huge to be able to get out of those innings," Orlan said. "You're just trying to throw up zeroes, especially with a three, four run lead like that. You're just trying to get back to the dugout as fast as you can."