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Orioles minor league recap 7/29: Bradish, Smith, Vespi shine in Norfolk

The Tides sweep a doubleheader, Stowers has three hits for the Baysox, and the IronBirds get homer happy.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 4, Durham Bulls (Rays) 3 - Game 1

Kyle Bradish turned in one of his best Triple-A starts to date. The righty struggled to miss bats, striking out just one hitter all day, but he also navigated around four hits and two walks to allow just one run across his 5.1-inning outing. Evan Phillips was tasked with closing things out behind him, but instead nearly gave away the game. During his 1.1 innings, Phillips served up two runs on three hits and one strikeout. Cody Carroll was called on to the get the final out in the top of the seventh inning.

It took a while for the Norfolk bats to get going. Through the first six innings they had scored just once, a solo shot from Mason McCoy in the third inning. But that didn’t matter for Robert Neustrom, who stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the game on the line and launched a walk-off, three-run bomb to give the Tides the first half of the double-header. Other hits in the game were a double for Kelvin Gutierrez and a pair of singles from Brett Cumberland and J.C. Escarra.

Norfolk Tides 2, Durham Bulls (Rays) 0 - Game 2

Kevin Smith and the newly-promoted Nick Vespi combined to twirl a gem in Game 2. Smith started and tossed 4.2 scoreless innings while walking four, striking out four, and giving up just one hit. He was then lifted in favor of Vespi, who delivered 2.1 perfect frames, striking out four in the process to secure the win in relief.

Norfolk wouldn’t hit any homers in Game 2, but they would manage to do more with the bats than their opponents. Their first run came on back-to-back doubles to open the second inning by Gutierrez and Zach Jarrett. The insurance run came in the sixth as an Escarra single scored Gutierrez, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Neustrom, Tyler Nevin, and Cody Roberts each singled throughout the game as well.

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 5, Bowie Baysox 2

It was not a particularly productive day for the Bowie bats, but they weren’t without their highlights. Kyle Stowers had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk and three singles. Adley Rutschman followed one of those singles with a home run in the third inning to account for the entirety of the team’s scoring. Toby Welk and Johnny Rizer also singled.

Gray Fenter was the standout from the four pitchers used by the Baysox. He lasted only 3.2 innings as the starter, but did so while giving up just one run on a hit, four walks, and five strikeouts. Tyler Joyner, Tyler Erwin, and Tim Naughton were the trio of relievers used, and none of them had spotless outings, combining to allow three runs on eight hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings.

High-A: Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) 7, Aberdeen IronBirds 5

Four of Aberdeen’s five runs were scored via solo home runs, including back-to-back jacks from Jordan Westburg and Gunnar Henderson in the third inning. Andrew Martinez added one in the fourth and Dylan Harris wrapped up the scoring in the seventh. Aberdeen’s other run came via a fielder’s choice off the bat of Andrew Daschbach in the third.

Brandon Young’s High-A debut was rough. He lasted a measly 2.2 innings because he allowed five runs on four hits and three walks, although he also struck out six. Clayton McGinness came on in relief and tossed 1.1 innings while allowing a run and striking out three. Jake Prizina turned in a huge performance, working five innings out of the ‘pen and allowing one unearned run on five hits, a walk, and four strikeouts to lower his season ERA to 3.20.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 13, Fredericksburg Nationals 8 - F/10

It’s not often that a game that goes to extra innings ends with a five-run score differential, but a six-run 10th inning for the Shorebirds made it possible here. The offense put up big numbers all game. Lamar Sparks was 3-for-5 with a triple out of the leadoff spot. Darell Hernaiz went 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base. Mason Janvrin singled twice and swiped two bags. Davis Tavarez registered his first triple. And Jean Carmona was 2-for-6 with a pair of RBI.

There were fewer highlights for the Shorebirds’ pitching staff, although starter Shane Davis did provide 4.1 solid innings in which he allowed just one run on two hits, three walks, and two strikeouts. Four more pitchers were needed to navigate through the remaining 5.2 frames, but there were no standouts. They combined to allow seven runs (four earned) while striking out five and walking four.

Complete box scores from all of Wednesday’s games can be found here. The Orioles’ Florida League Complex teams and their Dominican Summer League teams did not play any games.

Thursday’s scheduled games

  • Norfolk: vs Durham, 12:05. Starter: TBD
  • Bowie: at Richmond, 6:35. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: vs Bowling Green, 7:05. Starter: Conner Loeprich (0-1, 23.14 ERA)
  • Delmarva: at Fredericksburg, 7:05. Starter: Noah Denoyer (5-2, 2.70 ERA)