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Orioles minor league recap 7/31: Recent draftees star for Aberdeen, Norfolk gets torched

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Adley Rutschman went 2-for-4 with a double for the Ironbirds, and the Baysox and Keys pulled out late victories. Tides pitchers had a night to forget.

San Diego Padres v Baltimore Orioles
I’m going to keep posting photos of Adley Rutschman until there’s reason not to.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 15, Norfolk Tides 3

If you looked only at the hits column — Charlotte 17, Norfolk 15 — you’d think this was a close game. It...was not. Somehow, the Tides turned their massive amounts of hits into only three runs, leaving 11 runners on base. Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays, the Orioles’ No. 4 and 6 prospects on MLB Pipeline, went 1-for-5 and 2-for-5 respectively, with Hays contributing an RBI double. The only Tide not to get a hit was the 0-for-5 DJ Stewart, who nonetheless is a candidate to be called up to the O’s this week to replace the injured Dwight Smith Jr.

The Tides’ pitching was just a disaster in this game. Jay Flaa, Sean Gilmartin, Tyler Erwin, and Matt Wotherspoon gave up at least three runs and four hits apiece. It was particularly ugly for Erwin, who was making his Triple-A debut after being promoted from Bowie. The righty gave up five runs and five hits in 2.1 innings. The top four Charlotte hitters went a combined 12-for-20 with 12 runs scored, including a 4-for-5 performance by Alcides Escobar, who was released by the Orioles in spring training. DH Zack Collins had six RBIs.

Bowie Baysox 6, Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies) 5

The Baysox rode to victory on the strength of a four-run sixth inning. No. 5 prospect Yusniel Diaz went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Mason McCoy (No. 25) had two hits. McCoy, who recently suffered a 3-for-33 spell that dropped his batting average under .300 for the first time all year, is showing signs of bouncing back with three straight two-hit games.

Among other O’s hitting prospects, Ryan McKenna (No. 13) delivered the go-ahead RBI single and stole a base, while Rylan Bannon (No. 24) was 0-for-2 with a walk. Rio Ruiz, recently demoted from the Orioles, made his 2019 minor league debut and was hitless in four at-bats.

Starter Zac Lowther had one of his more mediocre performances. In five innings, he surrendered four hits, four walks, and three runs (two earned), though he did strike out six. Lowther took a no-decision but has a 2.62 ERA this season. Francisco Jimenez got the win in relief, while Cristian Alvarado notched his fourth save despite allowing three hits in the ninth.

Frederick Keys 3, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs) 1

The Keys saved the best for last in this game. In a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth, Frederick put three runs on the board, capped by a two-run homer by right fielder Robert Neustrom, who provided three of the Keys’ six hits.

Cameron Bishop didn’t stick around long enough to pick up his first win of the year and remains 0-8, but he pitched well. Bishop tossed five scoreless innings, scattering four hits, walking two, and striking out five. Luis Perez recorded the victory with 3.2 solid innings of relief, and Tim Naughton escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth with a game-ending strikeout, earning his sixth save.

Aberdeen Ironbirds 5, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Indians) 3

Let’s be honest: you’ve waded through this whole minor league recap because you just want to hear about Adley Rutschman. So let’s talk about Adley Rutschman! His third game with Aberdeen was his best one yet, as he socked a double and scored a run while going 2-for-4. Look at that sweet swing!

Behind the plate, Rutschman was less successful; Mahoning Valley stole two bases against him. (I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a team called the Scrappers is all about running and hustling.) So far, Rutschman is 2-for-5 in throwing out base stealers.

Other 2019 draftees excelled at the plate for the Ironbirds. Center fielder Kyle Stowers (the Orioles’ competitive balance round pick) and shortstop Joey Ortiz (fourth round) each hit his first professional home run. On the mound, after a two-inning start by rehabbing Bowie righty Marcos Molina, former international amateur signing Leonardo Rodriguez stole the show. In six innings, he surrendered only one hit — a homer — while racking up nine strikeouts. The 21-year-old Rodriguez has a 1.65 ERA in nine games. That’ll do.

Complete box scores from Tuesday’s games can be found here.

Wednesday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk at Gwinnett, 7:05 PM. Starter: Keegan Akin (4-4, 4.66)
  • Bowie vs. Reading, 7:05 PM. Starter: Alex Wells (8-2, 2.17)
  • Frederick at Myrtle Beach, 7:05 PM. Starter: Blaine Knight (0-8, 5.91)
  • Delmarva at Greenville, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen at Mahoning Valley, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD