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Orioles minor league recap 5/27: A strong day for Norfolk offense and Bowie, Frederick, and Delmarva pitching

O’s affiliates played five on Sunday and won two. Bowie’s Zac Lowther pitched six scoreless, the Keys’ Brenan Hanifee got a W, and Delmarva split a doubleheader. 

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

Gwinnett (Braves) 9, Norfolk Tides 6

Tides pitchers were susceptible to the long ball, giving up three on the day. Tyler Herb (3-4, 6.45 ERA, 38 SO) had allowed three runs over the first four innings, but melted down in the fifth, surrendering a grand slam to Striper SS Jack Lopez. The lefty Luis Gonzalez pitched 2.1 innings, giving up a two-run blast of his own in the seventh to make it 9-3.

Norfolk outhit the Stripers 14-10, scoring three run in the eighth and ninth, but they couldn’t work their way out of the hole their pitchers had dug. Jace Peterson had a monster day, going 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, and three runs scored. Jesús Sucre was 2-for-3 with 2 runs batted in. Anthony Santander (.281/.765 OPS) went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI double. Cedric Mullins (.237/.692 OPS) was 1-for-5 with a run scored. DJ Stewart had a 1-for-5 day, but his offensive line remains a none-too-shabby .316/1.011 OPS.

Erie (Tigers) 3, Bowie Baysox 0

Bowie bats fell silent in a loss to the Tigers’ AA affiliate. The Baysox put together just four hits on the day: a double from catcher Carlos Perez, a single by Ryan McKenna (.210/.629 OPS), a single by Rylan Bannon (.266/.750 OPS), and a single by second baseman Chris Clare (.224/.574 OPS). Austin Hays (.286/.690 OPS) went 0-for-4, while left fielder Ademar Rifaela was 0-for-3 and struck out three times.

Bowie pitching has been on a hot streak, and No. 8 prospect Zac Lowther didn’t disappoint. He went six innings against the Seawolves, giving up just two hits and three walks, with four strikeouts. The lefty is now 4-3 with a 1.68 ERA and 43 strikeouts on the season. Brian González (0-1, 4.55 ERA) came on in the seventh and gave up a three-run homer to Erie’s Jose Azocar to get saddled with the loss.

Potomac (Nationals) 2, Frederick Keys 5

The Keys came back from a 2-0 deficit with five runs in the sixth and seventh. In a three-run sixth, Keys got contributions from Trevor Craport, who hit an RBI double, Sean Miller, with a sac fly, and Yeltsin Gudino, who singled home Craport. J.C. Escarra drove in the Keys’ fourth and fifth runs with a two-run homer in the seventh. Escarra finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs on the home run and a walk. CF Cole Billingsley, DH Jomar Reyes, shortstop Sean Miller, and 2B Yeltsin Gudino each had two hits on the day.

Frederick’s starter Brenan Hanifee (3-4, 5.59 ERA) had a messy fifth that involved all of a HBP, a walk, a balk, a wild pitch, and two singles—but he gave up only three other hits on the day. Hanifee came away with the win and a good line: 6.0 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 SO. Luis Perez (2-1, 0.68 ERA) pitched two scoreless innings in relief, giving up just one hit. Diogenes Almengo (2-1, 7.98 ERA) got his fifth save with one strikeout in a clean ninth.

Delmarva Shorebirds 2, Hagerstown (Nationals) 4 (G1)

The Shorebirds split a Sunday doubleheader against the Nats’ Hagerstown Suns. In Game 1, Hector Guance (4.68 ERA), the big righty out of the Dominican, lasted just two innings, giving up three runs. Guance didn’t seem to have his control today, hitting two Suns batters and walking another. He was relieved by Matt Hammonds (1-1, 4.08 ERA), who gave up a run on a wild pitch over three innings. Jhon Peluffo (5.52 ERA) had a nice outing, closing out the game with two hitless, scoreless innings on four K’s.

The Shorebirds scored their only two runs on a two-run Ben Breazeale single in the fourth. The only other batters to notch a hit were Robbie Thorburn (2B), Will Robertson, and Seamus Curran.

Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Hagerstown (Nationals) 3 (G2)

The Shorebirds rode out four early runs scored to a close win in Game 2. In the second, J.C. Encarnacion knocked in Will Robertson with a ground out before Ryne Ogren singled to drive in Daniel Fajardo. In the third, Robertson hit an RBI single of his own and scored on a fielding error by Suns rightfielder Jacob Rhinesmith. Encarnacion finished 0-for-3 on the day with that one RBI. Shortstop Adam Hall (O’s No. 14 prospect) finished 2-for-2 with a walk.

Delmarva starter Ryan Wilson substantially lowered his ERA from 14.73 coming off his first outing on 5/18 to 8.22 with four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts. Wilson got the no-decision, although I’m sure he was happy with his improved performance today. Lefty Zach Matson (3-0, 1.93 ERA) gave up two solo home runs in the sixth, but still earned the win. Tim Naughton (2-2, 3.86 ERA) got the save in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single but then striking out the side.

The O’s single-A affiliate owns an 33-11 record, still the best mark in all of minor league baseball.

Complete box scores from Thursday’s set of games can be found here.

Monday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: at Gwinnett (Braves) 1:05 p.m. Starter: Keegan Akin (2-2, 3.92 ERA, 52 K)
  • Bowie: at Erie (Detroit), 1:35 p.m. Starter: TBD
  • Frederick: at Potomac (Nationals), 1:05 p.m. Starter: Michael Baumann (1-2, 3.82 ERA, 55 K)
  • Delmarva: vs Hagerstown (Nationals), 2:05 p.m. Starter: Grayson Rodriguez (5-0, 1.50 ERA, 53 K)