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Orioles minor league recap 7/27: Hall and Westburg exit early in Tides loss

Norfolk was the only loser Tuesday, as Bowie, Aberdeen and Delmarva all scored 9+ runs.

Reading Fightin Phils v Bowie Baysox
Hall’s poor outing Tuesday is hopefully just a speed bump on his track to Baltimore
Photo by 2021 Rodger Wood/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) 8, Norfolk Tides 6

The showdown of two top pitching prospects did not go the way of DL Hall (Orioles’ #4 prospect, MLB Top 100 #65) and the Tides on Tuesday. Facing off against Matthew Liberatore (MLB #44), Hall had his shortest start of the season, getting only two outs and giving up six runs on six hits—including two home runs. This start came after Hall threw only one inning in a planned short outing against Durham on 7/22. Liberatore didn’t have his best stuff either by any means—giving up four runs in 4.1 innings—but he did strike out seven and got the better of his fellow top prospect.

To add insult to injury—or perhaps injury to insult—Jordan Westburg left the game after being hit by a pitch in the foot during the third inning. GUNNAR HENDERSON (Orioles #2, MLB #5) did have a double and a run scored, while Kyle Stowers (#7 prospect) drove in three runs with a two-run single and an RBI groundout. Kelvin Gutierrez also added three RBIs on a two-run homer and an RBI single. All of the offense proved just slightly too little and slightly too late, as the Tides couldn’t dig themselves out of hole from Hall’s poor outing.

Box Score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 11, Altoona Curve (Pirates) 5

The Baysox lineup was firing on all cylinders as they jumped out to a huge early lead in their win over the Curve. Bowie got a three-run homer from Joseph Ortiz (#13 prospect) in the first, a solo shot from Connor Norby (#9 prospect) in the second and another three-run blast from Maverick Handley in the third. Outfielder Shayne Fontana added a two-run home run in the 8th to cap off the power surge from the Baysox.

Offensively, Ortiz was the biggest star on a night that saw plenty of standout performances. The shortstop finished 3-5 with the home run, a double and four RBIs. Norby and Colton Cowser (#3 prospect, MLB #40) did a great job of setting the table for Ortiz, going a combined 5-9 with four runs scored—including two doubles from Cowser. The former No. 5 overall draft pick has taken no time at all to adjust to life at AA. After his performance Tuesday night, Cowser is batting .308 for Bowie in 20 games, with a 1.114 OPS and 11 extra-base hits.

On the mound, the Baysox got a strong start from former 39th-round pick Ryan Watson. The righty threw five innings of three-hit ball, allowing only one run and striking out three. Through four starts in July, Watson has a 3.15 ERA, despite his 1-3 record.

Box Score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 9, Asheville Tourists (Astros) 5

A rain delay may have temporarily cooled off the IronBirds’ bats, but they didn’t stay cool for too long in their win Tuesday against Asheville. Trailing 1-0 after four innings, the Aberdeen offense came to life in the fourth inning and never looked back. After loading the bases with no outs in the fifth, two wild pitches, a hit-by-pitch and an RBI groundout saw the IronBirds turn that deficit into a 4-1 lead.

A two-run home run from first baseman TT Bowens in the sixth and a sac fly from Heston Kjerstad (#8 prospect) in the seventh saw Aberdeen grow their lead to 7-1. While Asheville added runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth, the initial lead—along with a two-RBI insurance single from outfielder John Rhodes in the ninth—proved to be enough for Aberdeen to secure the win.

While Kjerstad has faced his share of struggles to start his time at High-A, he was productive if not spectacular Tuesday night. Despite going 1-4 with a single in the ninth, he did produce two RBIs on the sac fly and groundout and scored one of those ninth-inning insurance runs. His batting average at Aberdeen is still only .194, but hopefully, a night like Tuesday is a sign of better things to come.

Box Score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 9, Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) 7

After falling behind 4-0 early, the Shorebirds used big innings in the fourth, fifth and eighth to down the Hillcats. First baseman Roberto Martinez laced a two-run double to left field in the fourth, halving Lynchburg’s lead. Then, in the top of the fifth, outfielder Mishael Deson launched a three-run home run to give the Shorebirds a 5-4 lead. That lead would not last though, as Hillcat runs in the fifth and sixth meant Delmarva was down once again heading into the seventh. After loading the bases with one out in the eighth, DH Trendon Craig singled to center—ultimately clearing the bases and giving Delmarva the lead for good.

Deson finished with the best stat line—2-3 with the three RBIs—but the comeback was truly a team affair. Of Delmarva’s nine starters, only one did not reach base multiple times, as the Shorebirds racked up 10 hits and nine walks.

Box Score

Wednesday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk Tides @ Memphis Redbirds, 8:05 pm. Starter: Mike Baumann
  • Bowie Baysox vs. Altoona Curve, 6:35 pm. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen IronBirds @ Asheville Tourists, 6:35 pm. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva Shorebirds @ Lynchburg Hillcats, 6:30 pm. Starter: Conor Grady