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Orioles minor league recap 9/1: Delmarva’s offense explodes in blowout, Bowie suffers tough loss

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The Shorebirds and Baysox are both fighting for postseason spots, but Tuesday night was much happier for the former than for the latter.

MLB: AUG 26 Angels at Orioles Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 1, Norfolk Tides 0

The Tides’ recent offensive woes continued as they suffered their second 1-0 loss in the last three games. Norfolk managed only five hits, all singles — two from Zach Jarrett and one apiece from #1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman, Rylan Bannon, and Robert Neustrom. With Ryan McKenna back in the bigs and Bannon cooling off, it’s a pretty thin Norfolk offense beyond Rutschman and, to a lesser extent, Neustrom.

The good news is that Mike Baumann (ranked the Orioles’ #10 prospect by MLB Pipeline) delivered another strong outing on the mound, working six innings and giving up just one run on five hits. Most impressively, he racked up seven strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter, lowering his Triple-A ERA to an even 2.00 in six starts at the level. The Orioles probably won’t promote him to the majors this season, but it’d be kind of fun to watch.

Double-A: Somerset Patriots (Yankees) 13, Bowie Baysox 10

In a crucial series with major postseason implications, Bowie suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots, rallying back from an early four-run deficit to take a 9-4 lead, only to fritter away the advantage piece by piece before a six-run eighth-inning did them in. With the defeat, the Baysox fell a half game behind the Patriots for the second and final playoff seed in the Double-A Northeast league. The good news is they’ve got five more games this series to try to vault their way back in front.

On offense, the Baysox did the bulk of their damage in a seven-run second inning that featured five singles, two walks, an error, and a Toby Welk two-run double. Zach Watson contributed a two-run single to that rally, part of his career-best five-RBI night. Watson lifted his OPS to .864 in 32 games at Bowie. Jordan Westburg, the Orioles’ #6 prospect, went hitless but contributed a bases-loaded walk.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome a dreadful performance by the Bowie pitching staff, starting with knuckleballer Mickey Jannis, who gave up six runs, seven hits, and three walks in four innings. Jannis has already been demoted from Triple-A and he’s not finding Double-A any easier, with a 6.60 ERA in three games. Logan Gillaspie struggled in relief, surrendering four runs, while Diogenes Almengo was tagged with the blown save and loss by coughing up the final two Somerset runs.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 4, Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) 2, resumption of suspended game

The IronBirds and BlueClaws resumed a game that was suspended after two innings back on August 8, so a few players appear in the box score even though they’ve since been promoted (Westburg), injured (Hudson Haskin), or both (J.D. Mundy). Only three IronBirds hitters who started that original game remained on the field for the resumption: Gunnar Henderson, Andrew Martinez, and AJ Graffanino.

The IronBirds offense used a well-balanced attack to plate four runs, getting homers from Ramon Rodriguez and Cristopher Cespedes while also running wild on the basepaths with four stolen bases. Henderson (#4 prospect) stole home on the front end of a double steal with TT Bowens in the fourth. Henderson also doubled twice.

Zach Peek was the de facto starting pitcher for the resumed game after Brandon Young had worked the first two innings on Aug. 8. Peek worked 4.1 innings and gave up six hits and three walks, though he limited the damage to two runs and picked up six strikeouts, earning the win. Clayton McGinness and Shelton Perkins combined for 2.2 scoreless frames to close it out.

High-A: Jersey Shore BlueClaws 6, Aberdeen IronBirds 2, regularly scheduled game

In the seven-inning nightcap of the quasi-doubleheader, the IronBirds collected eight hits, four of them doubles, but went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Cespedes roped one of those doubles as part of a two-hit game, while Adam Hall (#15 prospect) added a two-bagger of his own. Henderson had the night off.

Starter Connor Gillispie had seven strikeouts in four innings but also walked three, giving up two runs, and Luis Perez struggled in relief, giving up four runs in the final two innings to break a 2-2 tie.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 18, Carolina Mudcats (Brewers) 9

Another affiliate that’s making a late-season push for a playoff spot, the Shorebirds will have to make up ground on several teams, including Carolina. They’re certainly off to a good start after an absolute blowout of the Mudcats in the series opener, drawing within three games of the second postseason seed.

It was a complete team effort for the explosive Shorebirds offense. All nine batters contributed at least one hit and scored at least one run. Seven of the nine had RBIs, including three players — Jacob Teter, Donta’ Williams, and Connor Pavolony — who knocked in four runs apiece. The Orioles’ 2021 first-round pick, Colton Cowser (#5 prospect), reached base five times, with three walks and two hard-hit singles.

So far, Cowser is bludgeoning Low-A competition with a .350 average and .943 OPS, but he’s not the only Delmarva hitter who’s excelling. Look up and down the lineup and you’ll see OPSes in the high .800s, including 2021 second rounder Connor Norby (#9 prospect), 2020 fourth rounder Coby Mayo (#17), and recent 13th rounder Teter, who hit his first professional home run in this game.

Left-hander Cameron Bishop, rehabbing from Bowie, stumbled through a rocky outing, getting chased in the first inning after allowing five hits and four runs. Of the Shorebirds’ six pitchers, the standout was right-hander Gregori Vasquez, who retired all nine batters he faced, striking out four.

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

Wednesday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 5:05 PM (doubleheader). Gm 1 starter: TBD, Gm 2 starter: TBD
  • Bowie: vs. Somerset, 6:35 PM. Starter: Kyle Brnovich (0-1, 4.29)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Jersey Shore, postponed (rain)
  • Delmarva: at Carolina, 7:00 PM. Starter: Ty Blach (0-0, 0.00)