AUBURN | Right off the bat, JR Higley knew the ball was out of the park.
With the bases loaded and no outs, the centerfielder, on a rehab assignment from Advanced-A Potomac, blasted a 1-0 pitch over the left centerfield wall giving the Auburn Doubledays a 4-0 lead in the second inning Wednesday.
“You’re just trying to get a good pitch to hit and not do too much with it,” Higley said. “For me, when you’ve got guys in scoring position or guys on base with less than two outs, you want to try to do it early...Fortunately it went over the fence tonight.”
From there, Auburn’s pitching staff and bottom of the order took over, giving the Doubledays a 7-0 win over the Jamestown Jammers at Falcon Park. The sweep of the Jammers makes the Doubldays 5-0 at home and 7-3 overall on the season.
The bottom third of Auburn’s order -- Khayyan Norfork, Wander Ramos and Spencer Kieboom -- each scored on Higley’s grand slam, but that was far from the only time they would cross the plate Wednesday night.
The trio reached base in 10 of 12 plate appearances and would also account for six of Auburn’s seven runs.
“We’ve had a lot of that the past four to five days,” said Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart. “It’s good to see. It’s interesting to see how the lineup has flip-flopped, the bottom of the order has been very productive.”
Kieboom’s pair of singles netted three RBI, as he knocked in Norfork in the fourth inning and both Ramos and Norfork in the sixth inning.
Norfork reached on a pair of errors and went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, while Ramos went 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk.
But it was up to Auburn’s pitching staff and defense to keep Jamestown off the scoreboard.
Doubledays starter Pedro Encarnacion buzzed through the Jammers in the first three innings, needing only 30 pitches to get nine straight outs. Through six innings, he allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out five for his first win of the season.
“He finished the sixth, which is what we wanted, and he got close to 90 pitches -- it couldn’t have worked out any better,” Cathcart said. “It’s a big step forward for Pedro, and hopefully he continues on that same path.”
Brian Rauh was the only reliever Auburn used, and was credited with his first save of the season. He worked three innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two.
Jammers starter Matt Milroy went three innings, allowing four runs and four hits, including Higley’s grand slam. He walked two and struck out two in the loss.
In relief, Jacob Esch, Jheyson Manzueta and Nicholas Wittgren combined for three strikeouts, but allowed five hits, one walk and three runs, one earned.
While Jamestown will limp into Batavia today, Auburn will continue the second half of its six-game homestand against Williamsport.
“I like the way the guys are going about their business,” Cathcart said. “They’re working really hard in the afternoon on the fundamentals and the stuff we’re teaching them. They’re getting rewarded for that, and it’s nice.”