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Orioles minor league recap 5/29: Bowie bats come alive, Aberdeen rallies for win in extras

The Baysox and the 30-12 IronBirds were winners, while Norfolk and Delmarva couldn’t buy a clutch hit in losses.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
In his fifth game at High-A, Darell Hernaiz played the late-inning hero for the IronBirds.
Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 7, Norfolk Tides 4

The Tides were never really competitive in this one, falling into an early 5-0 hole that proved too difficult to climb out of. Rico Garcia, normally a reliever, was saddled with the loss, but he gave up only one of the Stripers’ seven runs. It was Conner Greene who really struggled, coughing up four runs and allowing six baserunners while recording just four outs. Greene, a frequent passenger on last year’s Norfolk-to-Baltimore shuttle, isn’t making a case to return to the majors anytime soon with his 7.71 ERA. On the plus side, Nick Vespi maintained his perfect ERA with a scoreless ninth inning. Get this guy back in the O’s bullpen, stat.

The Tides could have made this a closer game if they had capitalized on their many scoring opportunities, but alas, they went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners on base. Ouch. Kelvin Gutierrez had a whale of a game, supplying four of Norfolk’s eight hits, and is batting .357 with a 1.011 OPS. That’s a stark contrast from the meager offense we saw from Gutierrez during his major league auditions this year and last. Kyle Stowers, the Orioles’ #8 prospect on MLB Pipeline, went 1-for-5. The winning pitcher for Gwinnett, incidentally, was former Orioles All-Star Brad Brach.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 7, Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 1

After totaling just one run in their previous two games combined, the Baysox found their bats, collecting seven runs and 10 hits and chasing opposing starter Adam Wolf with a four-run first inning. Every Bowie batter reached base at least once, and eight of the nine had at least one hit. The star of the night was shortstop Joey Ortiz (#15 prospect), who went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs to inch his season average back above the Mendoza line (.206).

Among other hitting prospects, Hudson Haskin (#16) homered, Jordan Westburg (#6) doubled, and as always, GUNNAR HENDERSON (#3) was prominently involved, collecting a triple, a walk, and two runs. Cesar Prieto (#12) was 1-for-4 and is batting .176 in four games since his promotion to Bowie.

On the mound, right-hander Ryan Watson continued his impressive season, holding the SeaWolves to one run in four innings, striking out five. The 2020 undrafted free agent has a 3.22 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and is striking out more than a batter per inning in eight games this year. Cameron Bishop earned the win in relief with two scoreless, hitless innings.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 3, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 2

You cannot stop the now 30-12 IronBirds, you can only hope to contain them. On this night, Wilmington did neither. Aberdeen was two outs away from defeat before Darell Hernaiz tripled in the ninth and scored the tying run on Colton Cowser’s grounder. In the 11th, Hernaiz struck again, ripping an RBI single to score the free baserunner. Not bad for a guy who didn’t even enter the game until the seventh. It was the first multi-hit game at High-A for Hernaiz (#30 prospect), who was promoted to Aberdeen earlier this week.

Elsewhere in the lineup, 2021 second-round pick Connor Norby (#11 prospect) made his first start in more than two weeks after getting hit in the face with a pitch May 10. He went 0-for-3 before Hernaiz replaced him. Cowser (#4), last year’s first rounder, had a hit and two walks to go with his game-tying RBI. And Coby Mayo (#7) was hitless but drew two walks. The IronBirds also flashed their speed, with Hernaiz and Cowser each collecting two steals.

Starter Houston Roth worked five solid innings and gave up one run. In the bullpen, Gregori Vasquez worked 2.1 perfect innings with three strikeouts, and winning pitcher Xavier Moore notched four of his five outs on Ks.

Box score

Low-A: Charleston RiverDogs (Rays) 8, Delmarva Shorebirds 3

So far, this series has played out exactly like you’d expect between a superb 31-13 Charleston team and a struggling 15-29 Shorebirds squad. The RiverDogs have won all five games and will go for the six-game sweep this afternoon.

The good news is that Delmarva held the RiverDogs scoreless in seven of their eight innings. The bad news is that the other one was an eight-run fifth inning, in which Charleston sent 14 batters to the plate and collected six hits and four walks. The Shorebirds used three pitchers that inning alone, and it was a particularly gruesome one for reliever Thomas Girard, who not only gave up three hits, three runs, and two walks in 0.1 innings, but also threw a wild pitch and committed an error.

The Shorebirds got all their runs on one swing of the bat by left fielder Trendon Craig, a three-run homer in the sixth. As with Norfolk, Delmarva should have done more damage offensively based on their seven hits and nine walks — including three free passes by right fielder Isaac Bellony — but the Shorebirds stranded 12 runners and went 1-for-9 with RISP.

Box score

Sunday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: vs. Gwinnett, 1:05 PM. Starter: Dean Kremer (0-0, 0.00)
  • Bowie: vs. Erie, 1:05 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: at Wilmington, 1:05 PM. Starter: Justin Armbruester (1-0, 3.63)
  • Delmarva: at Charleston, 5:05 PM. Starter: Conor Grady (2-2, 6.00)