AUBURN, NY - Infielder Drew Ward hasn't missed a beat since coming to Auburn on a rehab assignment from Double-A Harrisburg on July 5. After batting .315 for the Senators so far in 2019, Ward's hitting .333 with the Doubledays after his 2-for-4, five RBI night on Wednesday. Ward's two-run home run in the first inning set the stage in Auburn's (12-13) 8-3 win over the Tigers (11-14).
Although the Doubledays tagged Connecticut starter Marco Jimenez for two right out the date, the six-foot righty settled down nicely and ended his outing by throwing three scoreless frames. Reliever Cristhian Tortosa took the baton from Jimenez and tossed a scoreless fifth inning before being put under the fire in the sixth by Auburn's bats.
With one out and two runners on, a throwing error by Tortosa scored Jake Randa from second base while also allowing Caldioli Sanfler to reach base. With Masters now on third base, a sacrifice fly from Andrew Pratt gave the Doublebays their second unearned run of the inning. A wild pitch to advance Sanfler from second to third piled on the pressure, but a Jose Sanchez groundout ended the inning.
Things didn't get easier for Connecticut in the seventh as the Doubledays hit new reliever Kory Behenna for four runs. A single and a double by from Anthony Peroni gave Auburn its first, and some first pitch swinging from Jake Randa brought in another. Then Ward, with one out, doubled to left field on a fly ball to plate two. The Doubledays loaded the bases once more with back-to-back walks, but new pitcher Bairon De La Rosa was able to get J.T. Arruda to line out.
Niomar Gomez - Auburn's No. 1 starter - had himself a solid night for the Doubledays. The righty held Connecticut off the board for the first three innings, but struggled some in the fourth after loading the bases with one out. He struck out Avery Tuck for the second out, but gave up a double to Hector Martinez that plates three and, at the moment, gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Gomez worked his way out of the jam, however, by getting Jose King to pop out to end the inning.
Alfonso Hernandez and Hunter McMahon took Auburn the rest of the way, combining for four scoreless innings out of the bullpen, with Hernandez getting his third win of the season and lowering his ERA to 1.47.
The Doubledays will be back in action Thursday for game two against the Tigers at 7 PM. Listen to the game online on Fingerlakes1.com, milb.streamguys1.com, or the TuneIn app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.