Yankees No. 7 prospect garners first Class A win in 2-1 victory
After witnessing an impressive seven-game debut with the RiverDogs to finish 2018, the Yankees felt confident in handing the ball to a teenager on Opening Day. 19-year-old right-hander Roansy Contreras dealt five innings of one-run ball and Aaron McGarity pinned down an extended, four-inning save as the RiverDogs found just enough offense to edge the Columbia Fireflies, 2-1, on Opening Night on Thursday at Segra Park.
The Yankees' pre-season No. 7 prospect by Baseball America, Contreras fanned six Columbia (0-1) batters and scattered five hits over his five frames, holding the Fireflies in check all night.
The RiverDogs (1-0) took a 2-0 lead in the second to back their young starter, who didn't receive the run support to garner his first Class A win despite turning in a 3.38 ERA during his time with Charleston last season. First baseman Eric Wagaman roped a base hit to open the inning before advancing to third after third baseman Nelson Gomez's fly ball dropped in for a double to right. With runners on second and third, designated hitter Mickey Gasper plated the season's first run on a groundout to third before second baseman Kyle Gray rapped a double into left field to score a second.
The Fireflies touched up Contreras for his lone blemish in the fourth. Mets No. 4 prospect Mark Vientos cracked a leadoff single to right, scoring two batters later on a Hayden Senger double into left, cutting the lead in half.
McGarity stymied Columbia with his wipeout slider the rest of the way, going four innings to pick up his fourth career save. The Virginia Tech product scattered just a pair of hits while striking out four. Neither Charleston pitcher issued a walk on the evening, helping limit Columbia's baserunners in a game where the Fireflies outhit the Dogs, 7-5.
The Opening Night win marked a familiar situation for the RiverDogs, who led the South Atlantic League with 57 one-run contests in 2018, finishing 26-31 in those games.
The RiverDogs continue their weeklong road trip to start the season on Friday night from Segra Park with a 7:05 first pitch in the state capital. Yanks' No. 10 prospect Matt Sauer will make his RiverDogs debut, opposed by Fireflies righty Jose Butto. Friday night's contest will be broadcast on "The Big Talker" 1250 WTMA in the tri-county area and online via the TuneIn Radio app.
Fans can "Make Fun" with the RiverDogs all season long when they open their home slate on Thursday, April 11 against the Greensboro Grasshoppers to kick off a weeklong homestand at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season is available at riverdogs.com.