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Orioles minors recap 9/3: Akin wins honors, but Bowie pitching struggles

Keegan Akin was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year on Sunday, but his fellow Baysox pitchers gave up 10 runs.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Norfolk Tides 7, Durham Bulls (Rays) 2

Now that they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention, the Tides finally won a game. Too little, too late. The Norfolk offense poured on a barrage of doubles, with six of their hits going for two bases. Mike Yastrzemski, Chance Sisco, and DJ Stewart were among the hitters who doubled. Yastrzemski and Garabez Rosa each drove in two runs.

Luis Ysla wasn’t great, but held the Bulls to two runs in five innings to notch the win. Andrew Faulkner, Evan Phillips, and Cody Carroll combined for four scoreless innings of relief, with Faulkner and Phillips each striking out two.

Altoona Curve (Pirates) 10, Bowie Baysox 8

First off, congratulations to Baysox lefty Keegan Akin on being named the 2018 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year! Akin was 14-7 with a 3.27 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 25 starts for Bowie, cementing his status as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. Expect to see him in Baltimore sometime next year.

Sadly, on this day, Akin’s Baysox teammates did not follow his example of quality pitching. They were torched for 10 runs and 14 hits, with starter Bruce Zimmermann taking the brunt of the damage: 2.1 innings, eight runs (five earned), six hits, and three walks. A pair of errors by the normally sure-handed Rylan Bannon added to Zimmermann’s woes. Zimmermann, the Baltimore native who came to the O’s in the Kevin Gausman trade, finished his season with a 5.06 ERA in five starts for Bowie. On the plus side, reliever Zach Muckenhirn tossed four scoreless innings.

The Baysox lineup played some Home Run Derby, with Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, and Brett Cumberland all going deep. Cumberland’s blast was a grand slam. Bannon walked twice and scored two runs. Ryan McKenna went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs) 2, Frederick Keys 1 — Game 1

In the resumption of Saturday’s suspended game, the Keys carried a 1-0 lead to the final inning, the seventh, but normally reliable closer Tyler Erwin coughed up a pair of runs to lose it. Two hits and three walks doomed Erwin to his fourth blown save in 26 opportunities, but he still holds a 1.58 ERA this season.

Before the rains came on Saturday, Zac Lowther pitched a gem for the Keys, working five shutout innings and allowing only baserunner (on a single) while racking up eight strikeouts. It was a fittingly splendid way to finish a stupendous 2018 for Lowther. Between Delmarva and Frederick this year, Lowther went 8-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 123.2 innings.

Frederick 8, Myrtle Beach 4 — Game 2, 10 innings

Walkoff grand slam! Now that’s how you end a ballgame. Keys right fielder T.J. Nichting did the honors with the dramatic game-ending blast in the 10th. It capped a wild Keys comeback in which they plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, thanks to a Cole Billingsley two-run single.

Another bit of encouraging news in this one was a quality start from 2016 first-round pick Cody Sedlock, who finished a tumultuous 2018 season with his finest outing of the year. Sedlock, who suffered a strained right shoulder earlier this season, hadn’t pitched more than four innings in any start until going six in this one. He held the Pelicans to two runs on six hits and didn’t walk anyone, though he had only one strikeout.

Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies) 5, Delmarva Shorebirds 4

A sloppy Shorebirds team put themselves in an early hole. Starter Brandon Bonilla gave up five runs, four of which were unearned thanks to errors by shortstop Cadyn Grenier (his 10th) and left fielder Trevor Craport (his 19th). Bonilla also didn’t help his own cause by uncorking four — count ‘em, four — wild pitches. On the basepaths, two Shorebirds runners were picked off.

Grenier and Craport, at least, made up for their errors offensively, with the former contributing an RBI single and the latter a run-scoring double. Leadoff man Mason McCoy was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Jean Carlos Encarnacion doubled and walked.

Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays) 19, Aberdeen Ironbirds 3

Um...ouch. It’s safe to say this game didn’t go the Ironbirds’ way. They were blistered for 19 runs, their worst blowout of the season. Five of the six Aberdeen pitchers gave up multiple runs, including starter Hector Guance (who was demolished for six runs in one inning) and reliever Jose Diaz (who also gave up six earned and has an 8.17 ERA). The one pitcher who escaped the carnage was righty reliever Ryan Conroy, who tossed three scoreless innings.

The Ironbirds were down 19-0 after the sixth. The No. 1-4 hitters in the Renegades’ lineup were a combined 14-for-21 with 12 runs scored and 12 RBIs. Kudos to them. On the Aberdeen side, two of their three runs were driven in by China native Guiyuan “Itchy” Xu, while Jean Carmona — part of the Jonathan Schoop trade — had a double and two walks.

Complete box scores can be found here.

Monday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk at Durham, 1:05 PM. Starter: Matt Wotherspoon (2-8, 4.65)
  • Bowie vs. Altoona, 1:35 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Frederick vs. Myrtle Beach, 2:00 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva at Lakewood, 1:05 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen at Hudson Valley, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD