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Orioles minors recap 4/17: Delmarva’s dominance continues

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The Shorebirds improved to 10-2 with a doubleheader sweep, and Norfolk also won big. The night was less exciting for Bowie and Frederick.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Zac Lowther twirled another masterpiece for the sizzling hot Shorebirds.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Norfolk Tides 6, Lehigh Valley (Phillies) 0

The Tides evened their record at 5-5 with their first shutout of the season. David Hess, making his first start since April 8 after his brief call-up to the Orioles on Sunday, worked four scoreless innings, striking out five. Three relievers combined to finish the shutout, including two scoreless frames from veteran lefty Josh Edgin and another two from Donnie Hart, who was also returning from a recent stint with the big club.

The Tides’ lineup spread the contributions around, with six different hitters scoring a run and five different hitters collecting an RBI. Shortstop Ruben Tejada, who perhaps would’ve been a better call-up to the Orioles than Luis Sardinas, went 2-for-4. Catcher Austin Wynns had two hits as well.

Richmond (Giants) 1, Bowie Baysox 0

If you like offense, you came to the wrong place. The game’s only run scored in the bottom of the second on an Ali Castillo RBI single, and then there were six and a half more innings of goose eggs. The Baysox managed just four hits, none of them by Austin Hays (who’s batting .217) or Cedric Mullins (.227). Mullins did walk twice, but he was thrown out trying to score on a Corban Joseph double in the sixth.

The punchless bats ruined a quality start by John Means, who had more strikeouts (six) than baserunners allowed (five) in six innings.

Lynchburg (Indians) 4, Frederick Keys 1

Bespectacled Australian lefty Alex Wells, the Orioles’ 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, suffered an uncharacteristically shaky outing, lasting just 4.2 innings and giving up two runs on eight hits. Wells also walked two batters and has now issued four free passes in three starts this year. Those are practically Ubaldoan numbers for Wells, who walked only 10 batters in 140 innings last year, including 68 straight innings without one.

Like the Baysox, the Keys’ offense put a whole lot of zeroes on the scoreboard. They eked only one run out of their eight hits, leaving 10 runners on base.

Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Hagerstown (Nationals) 2 (Game 1)

After a Monday rainout, the Shorebirds didn’t exactly have great weather for this game, either— there was a snow delay in the middle. But they got the game in, and it was all Shorebirds, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and never looked back. Center fielder T.J. Nichting led the offensive charge with three hits and two RBIs, falling a homer shy of the cycle. Ryan Ripken (or, as Mark calls him, nephew of Billy) drove in a pair as well.

Once again, starting pitching was the story for Delmarva. Zac Lowther, who threw six no-hit innings with 13 strikeouts in his season debut, was sharp again in his encore. He blanked Hagerstown over five scoreless innings, adding another seven strikeouts to his season tally. Let me do the math for you: in 11 innings this year, Lowther has 20 strikeouts, three hits, one walk, and zero earned runs. That’ll do. Oh, yes, that’ll do.

Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Hagerstown 3 (Game 2)

Somebody break up the Shorebirds. This club is on fire. With their doubleheader sweep, Delmarva is 10-2 to start the season.

They rallied late to win game two, scoring five runs in the game’s final three innings. Left fielder Zach Jarrett was a one-man wrecking crew, bashing two home runs, including a go-ahead three-run shot in the fifth.

On the mound, the Shorebirds piggybacked prospects D.L. Hall (the Orioles’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft) and Gray Fenter. Hall went two mediocre innings, giving up two runs (one earned), three hits, and four walks. Fenter was more impressive in his three frames, holding Hagerstown to one run while fanning five.