AUBURN — The latest edition of Doubledays baseball was an ugly sight.
Even the blue skies said, “We’ve had enough,” making way for dark clouds and lightning strikes.
Auburn lost its second in a row to the State College Spikes, 8-0, Thursday at Falcon Park in a game that was called in the middle of the eighth inning due to a thunderstorm.
The loss also serves as the Doubledays’ largest of the season, as their previous worst was a run differential of four.
Suddenly, after the Doubledays had won nine in a row, Auburn is struggling to reach base and hit with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-4 in that situation in Game 2 after going 0-for-5 in the series opener.
State College also hasn’t issued a walk to Auburn through two games.
“They’re keeping us off balance with the off-speed pitches, which we’ve had a tough time making adjustments to the last couple of nights,” Doubledays manager Jerad Head said. “We’ve got to stick with our game plan and go for balls up in the zone, not chasing.
“You’re going to fight through it at some point. After a run like that, I think a lot of things right now are mental mistakes.”
Doubledays starting pitcher Yonathan Ramirez was solid for the second straight outing, going six innings with two runs and seven hits against. He struck out five and walked three.
He also became the first Auburn starter since Nick Raquet on Sept. 4, 2017 to pitch six innings.
“We do have an inning and pitch count limit. Yonathan is one that’s been in the organization for several years now and has been built up to six innings, 90 pitches,” Head said. “He finished strong, which was nice for him to do.”
The Spikes scored one run each in both the first and fourth inning off Ramirez, but Auburn was still well within range. Timely hits were no where to be found, however — each inning from the third to the sixth, the Doubledays left a runner in scoring position.
The wheels fell off the wagon in the top of the seventh. State College pounded the Doubledays with four runs, assisted by one error from first baseman Jamori Blash and two wild pitches from reliever Aaron Barrett.
State College tacked on two more runs in the eighth on a two-run double from Wadye Ynfante, and after that the incoming rain mercifully forced the conclusion.
That doesn’t mean the Doubledays were ready to head to the clubhouse to call it a night, even if it meant saving some innings for their pitchers.
“We’ve had some big innings this year,” Head said. “Who knows, something might’ve clicked.”
Auburn (11-8) has a change to salvage the final game of the series Friday at Falcon Park.