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Howard makes first start with Yard Goats

Athletes Beyond Bartow, Adam Clark, Georgia Gwinnett College baseball

Former Cartersville High School and Georgia Southern University southpaw, Sam Howard, made his first start Friday night with his new Class AA Eastern League team, the Hartford Yard Goats.

Howard, recently promoted from the Advanced Class A, California League Modesto Nuts, allowed only one earned run in 6 and one-third innings of work. The 23-year-old, third-year pro scattered seven hits and a pair of walks while striking out three in a no-decision at the Binghamton Mets.

Howard exited the game in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead, but the Goats ultimately fell to the Mets 3-2 in 13 innings.

Howard had 11 starts at Modesto before the promotion up the Colorado Rockies’ organization ladder. The Rockies’ 24th overall rated prospect was 4-3 in the California League with a 2.47 ERA.

His first Double-A outing lowered his season ERA to 1.42 in 72 innings pitched. He has collected 76 strikeouts on the year with a 1.06 WHIP and opponents are hitting only .193 against him.

Howard has risen quickly through the Colorado farm system. He completed an outstanding 2015 season with the Rockies’ Class-A Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League. His sophomore pro season included a stretch of 22 and two-thirds consecutive shutout innings. He has now successfully followed with an even faster start in 2016 at Modesto.

Hartford currently sits third in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division with a 35-24 record. The Connecticut-based Yard Goats are 6 and 1/2 games behind the division-leading Reading (PA) Fightin’ Phils.

The Eastern League consists of 12 teams in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. The major league franchises represented include the Giants, Tigers, Orioles, Senators, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, and Rockies.

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