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July 17th, 2014

Renegades Rally, Return to Top of NYPL

AUBURN - The Hudson Valley Renegades came from behind to beat the Auburn Doubledays on Thursday, thanks to a six-run eighth-inning rally capped off by catcher Wilmer Dominguez's bases-loaded three-run double.

The Renegades fell behind early in the game, as Auburn touched 'Gades starter Mike Franco for two runs in the second inning. Franco allowed six hits in 2.2 innings in his his professional start, after making two appearances in relief for Hudson Valley earlier in the season.

But after Franco was relieved by Justin McCalvin with two outs in the third, Auburn managed just two hits over the remaining six innings, struggling mightily and striking out nine times against the three relievers who pitched for the Renegades in the contest.

Renegades hitters were having similar struggles against Auburn starter Travis Ott, who pitched six strong innings, allowing just three hits.

But one of those hits was to Renegades newcomer Grant Kay, the Rays' 27th round draft pick out of Louisville. Kay made his mark on Monday in his professional debut by becoming the first player in Rays' history to hit for the cycle in his first professional game. Kay finished Thursday's game 1-for-3 with a walk and is 8-for-12 on the season.

But after Ott left the game in the seventh inning, the Renegades' offense came alive, and they rallied for six runs in the eighth off Auburn reliever Deion Williams. After Braxton Lee walked, Coty Blanchard singled, and Lee came in to cut the deficit to 2-1 when Jace Conrad singled to center.

That brought up Rays' 2014 first round draft pick Casey Gillaspie. Gillaspie proved why he was drafted 20th overall by doubling deep to center to score Blanchard and Conrad and give Hudson Valley a 3-2 lead.

But the nail in the coffin for Auburn came four batters later, when Dominguez came to the plate with the bases loaded. The Renegades catcher laced a liner down the right field line to clear the bases and give the 'Gades a 6-2 lead.

Brian Miller came on and recorded a five-out save, striking out four along the way, and the Renegades returned to the top of the New York-Penn League with a 24-9 record, tied with the State College Spikes.

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