Niles, OH - The Auburn Doubledays used a pair of long balls, one by Hendry Jimenez and the other by Justin Miller, to lead them to a series win over Mahoning Valley in a 4-1 decision at Eastwood Field on Thursday night.
Jimenez blast, his fifth of the year, came with one out and Miller on first base against Scrappers' starter Will Roberts in the fifth inning. The home run gave Auburn a 2-1 lead at the time, only to see Miller extend that lead with a solo shot in the seventh. The Doubledays added a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Russell Moldenhauer as they defeated the Scrappers 4-1.
Mahoning Valley got their only run of the night in the bottom of the first off of Auburn starter Nathan Karns. With one out, Tony Wolters was hit by a pitch, took second on an errant throw by Karns trying to pick him off, and went to third on a wild pitch. He scored two batters later on a single by Jordan Smith.
From that point though, Karns shut down the Scrappers offense. After a two-out single by John Barr in the second, Mahoning Valley did not have another base runner until the eighth inning. Karns left the game after six innings, retiring thirteen straight and sixteen of the last seventeen he faced. He notched his first quality start of the year, going six strong innings, giving up just one run on three hits, striking out six and walking none.
Richie Mirowski took over for Karns in the seventh and sent the side down in order. After pitching his way into trouble in the eighth by allowing back-to-back two-out singles, Mirowski retired Todd Hankins on a fly out to centerfield to end the inning.
Mirowski turned it over to Manuel Rivera in the ninth, who picked up his second save of the year, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning.
With the win, the Doubledays magic number dropped to six, thanks to Williamsport falling in Batavia. Auburn currently has a three and one-half game lead over Williamsport and five game lead over Mahoning Valley with ten games left to play. The Doubledays are also just one-half game behind Staten Island for best record in the league.
On Friday, Auburn welcomes the Batavia Muckdogs back to Falcon Park for the first of a three game series. The Doubledays will send right-hander Taylor Hill to the bump against Muckdogs' lefty Ryan Sherriff. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm in Auburn. For tickets, please visit www.auburndoubledays.com.