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Orioles minor league recap 4/7: Norfolk gets first win in walk-off fashion

Jahmai Jones, Robert Neustrom, and Yusniel Diaz led the Norfolk offense while the bullpen delivered six scoreless innings to keep things close.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Triple A: Norfolk Tides 6, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 5

A standout performance from the bullpen, timely offense, and a little ninth-inning drama earned the Tides their first win of the season.

Things looked bleak at first. Former first-round pick Cody Sedlock got the start for Norfolk, and had a rocky outing. The first inning saw him plunk Jake Burger and then serve up a home run to clean-up hitter Ryder Jones, putting the Tides in an early, two-run deficit.

That deficit grew in the top of the third inning, when the Knights used five consecutive base hits to score three more times. But Sedlock was bailed out on the final hit, a single from former Oriole Dwight Smith Jr., as Yusniel Diaz collected and fired home to nab the runner, Carlos Perez, attempting to score from second base.

That was the end of Sedlock’s night. The stat line is quite ugly: three innings, five runs, six hits, no walks, three strikeouts, one home run. But he is another player that has seen his performance step up a level since the Mike Elias-led regime took over prior to 2019, so he remains an under-the-radar name to watch in the summer ahead.

Norfolk’s other corner outfielder on this night, Robert Neustrom, showed off his arm in the top of the fifth inning. The Iowa product gathered a Burger base hit off the outfield wall and fired to second base, where Jahmai Jones made a perfect tag to keep the bases clear.

The home team bats finally got going in the sixth inning. Jones led off with a double, then came around to score on a Diaz two-bagger. After moving up a base, Diaz scored as well on a Rylan Bannon ground out to make it 5-2.

All the while, Ryan Hartman was keeping things close on the mound. The 27-year-old lefty hung around for four scoreless innings, allowing just one runner beyond first base the entire time. He struck out two and walked one in the process.

Norfolk got back to scoring in the eighth inning. Terrin Vavra opened the frame with a walk, Jones followed with a hit by pitch, Diaz drove in Vavra with a single, and Neustrom loaded the bases with a base on balls. One more walk to Patrick Dorrian drew the Tides within a run before Charlotte got out of the jam.

It seemed like only a matter of time before the Tides would go on to win, and that’s just what happened in the ninth inning. Once again, Vavra walked. Jones knocked him in with a double into the right-center gap. Following an intentional walk of Diaz, Neustrom sent the crowd home happy with a long single over the right fielder’s head to bring Jones home and give the good guys a 6-5 win.

Last night’s box score can be found here.

Thursday’s schedule games

  • Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 12:05. Starter: Alexander Wells (6-3, 3.29 ERA in 2021)