AUBURN — It wasn’t pretty, but following a two-game skid the Doubledays will gladly accept the win.
Auburn had an adventorous evening on the defensive side of the ball committing four errors but still managed a 4-2 win over State College Friday night at Falcon Park.
The win salvages an uneven series for the Doubledays, who were charged with 10 defensive errors over the three games.
Despite that, the Doubledays received another steady start from pitcher Francys Peguero. Peguero, making his fourth appearance of the season, lasted five innings, allowed three hits and one run with two strikeouts and one walk.
In each of his four starts, Peguero has went at least four innings and allowed one run or less.
Auburn also counted on closer Connor Zwetsch for a six-out save. Zwetsch entered Friday’s game a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities, but none of those appearances extended over an inning.
Zwetsch allowed three hits (two doubles) and a run against, but did enough to pick up his fifth save.
“That’s something we planned on doing the last couple days, trying to get him an outing where he pitches two innings,” Auburn manager Jerad Head said. “He had four days of rest so it was a perfect opportunity to get him out there. It lined up pretty perfect.”
Israel Pineda and Pablo O’Connor both homered for Auburn. Pineda’s was his team-leading third of the season, while O’Connor’s came in only his second game — and first start — in the New York-Penn League.
Cole Daily added two hits, and Telmito Agustin also singled.
Agustin’s hit sparked the Doubledays in the bottom of the first when he dragged a bunt down the line from the lead-off spot. He worked his way around to third and came home on Nic Perkins’ RBI groundout. Auburn added another run in the first on a single from Pineda to take a 2-0 lead.
“That was something (Agustin) did on his own,” Head said. “Once he saw the first baseman and second baseman back, it was a good time for it. It got us a baserunner.”
State College was lifeless against Peguero through four innings, but Imeldo Diaz — who entered the series finale batting .094 on the season — blasted a solo shot to cut Auburn’s lead in half in the fifth.
The Doubledays relied on two home runs of their own that would end up the eventual difference. Pineda cranked his third of the year over the scoreboard in left field in the sixth, and O’Connor went the opposite way for a crucial insurance run in the eighth.
“(O’Connor) grinded out some at-bats early on and I think he got comfortable,” Head said. “He got a pitch he was comfortable with out over the plate and he drove the ball. He’s got some juice.”
Zwetsch entered for Ryan Tapani (two innings, three strikeouts, no hits, no runs) in the eighth and closed out the game.
While Auburn is back in the win column, its series against State College was one to forget. During their nine-game winning streak that preceded the series against the Spikes, the Doubledays were charged with only two errors.
That defensive prowess deserted them over their last three games.
“We’re just going to reiterate how important it is,” Head said. “It’s not a lack of reps or work. I think sometimes we may lose focus a little bit. We’ll talk about that going into the next series and see if we can put a complete game together, because that wasn’t a pretty one.”
The Doubledays (12-8) will look to put their defensive woes behind them as they travel to West Virginia Saturday,