Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 14, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 3
The Tides romped to a huge win on Sunday. It’s hard to decide which was more exciting, the pitching or the offense. You be the judge.
Grayson Rodriguez put together his longest start of the season, a six-inning, 86-pitch gem in which he allowed two runs, one walk, and struck out nine batters. We know O’s GM Mike Elias is watching because during the MLB game the O’s broadcast booth read him G-Rod’s stat line, just to be sure.
Meanwhile, Tides hitters racked up 14 runs on 15 hits, six of them home runs. Outfielder Kyle Stowers went yard three times, giving him nine home runs on the season and a .926 OPS. (If I have to pick a favorite of his three Sunday bombs, I’d say it’s the second.)
It’s quite a day for the hitters when Robert Neustrom hits his eighth homer of the season on a four-hit night and still gets outshone. Dylan Harris also went yard, an Earl Weaver special, and so did Kélvin Gutiérrez (whose .948 OPS in Norfolk is kind of surprising). Richie Martin had three hits out of the top spot.
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) 8, Bowie Baysox 7
Bowie lost a heartbreaker, losing the lead twice, thanks to a pair of crappy outings by Morgan McSweeney and Easton Lucas, one of the pickups in the 2019 Jonathan Villar trade with Miami. Ryan Watson, the starter, threw 4.2 innings and allowed two runs. But Lucas allowed four runs in the seventh inning to earn the blown save. And, after Bowie tied the game in the bottom half, McSweeney allowed two more to net Bowie a second BS!
At least Bowie brought the lumber. Three Baysox top prospects went deep: Hudson Haskin, in the first inning (his second in two games); Jordan Westburg, in the third; and Zach Watson, in the fourth. Gunnar Henderson—sorry, GUNNAR HENDERSON—doubled and walked twice. J.D. Mundy and Maverick Handley had two hits apiece.
High-A: Rome Braves 9, Aberdeen IronBirds 4
Even MiLB’s best team (at 26-11) has an off day now and then. Although the Braves quickly put up four against Aberdeen’s Houston Roth (L, 3-1, 4.42 ERA), the game was still tied 4-4 after the fourth inning. Unfortunately, Roth stayed in too long, giving up a two-run homer in the fifth that put Rome up for good. Rickey Ramirez (9.00) pitched an ineffective single inning, allowing three more runs, although Clayton McGinness threw 3.1 hitless and scoreless, leaving him with a 1.26 ERA in 14.1 innings.
A Prieto-less lineup put up nine hits on a decent day for the prospects. From the top of the lineup, Colton Cowser went 3-for-5 with an RBI double. Coby Mayo doubled twice. TT Bowens, leading the team in OPS at .810, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Donta' Williams and Davis Tavarez chipped in a hit apiece.
Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 11, Fredericksburg Nationals 4
The Shorebirds have been heating up lately, and the bats stayed torrid on Sunday. Delmarva put up 13 hits and Shorebirds hitters 1-4 all had two hits or more: that includes leadoff man Luis Valdez (2-for-4, BB, 2 R), Noelberth Romero (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI), and Darell Hernaiz and Isaac Bellony, with a combined five hits, five runs scored, and four RBI between them. Hernaiz leads the team with an .853 OPS and outfielder Bellony is close behind at .804. Isaac De Leon contributed two hits, and 2021 ninth-rounder Ryan Higgins contributed a two-run jack out of the seven spot.
Dan Hammer (5.76 ERA) threw four innings and allowed two runs. Ryan Long, a 17th-rounder in 2021, earned the win (1-1, 3.33 ERA) with two scoreless innings of relief. Joel Benítez allowed two runs and Hugo Beltrán (1.84 ERA) closed out the win with two scoreless.