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Orioles minor league recap 8/20: Jackson Holliday hits his first pro homer

Friday saw a lot of offense on the Orioles farm as three of their four full-season affiliates won.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 9, Durham (Rays) 8

The Tides scoring four runs in each of two innings wouldn’t have been enough for them to win the game, so it’s a good thing they also scored one run in the third inning. They were out-hit by the Bulls, 14-7, and two different Norfolk pitchers allowed a three-run home run. It was ugly, but it was a win.

Jordan Westburg hit his tenth homer since joining the Tides, a three-run shot that gave them a big boost early on. The home run scored GUNNAR HENDERSON, who was once again playing first base to give him some work there; one wonders if they hope to bring him up and play the two infield corners for the rest of the season. If it gets him to Baltimore, I’m for it. Henderson singled and walked in four plate appearances.

Starting pitcher Mike Baumann was decent in a five-inning start. The Bulls scored two runs on six hits and a walk against Baumann, who struck out four. Later, rehabbing big leaguer Alexander Wells allowed three runs in 2.2 innings, and already-DFA’d Logan Allen was dunked on for three runs in only 0.2 innings; Allen was supposed to finish the ninth in a non-save situation, then turned it into a save for Cole Uvila.

Box score.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 3, Somerset (Yankees) 2

Cade Povich, the headliner from the Jorge López trade, made his Double-A debut here. Povich’s five inning outing saw him throw 79 pitches and give up two runs. The runs scored on one swing, a two-run homer. Povich struck out six, allowing three hits and two walks. That’s a nice beginning for the level. Povich and the Baysox relievers following him kept top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe (#5 prospect in MLB per the recent MLB Pipeline ranking) hitless in five at-bats.

Bowie scored a run in the first inning when Joey Ortiz hit his 15th home run of the year, and another run in the fifth as catcher Maverick Handley connected for the ninth time. That kept things at 2-2 until the game went into extra frames. They kept the Patriots from getting their reanimated runner across the plate, and then in the bottom half of the inning, Connor “The Jelly” Norby delivered a walkoff single. Norby had three hits in the game and is now OPSing .872 for Bowie.

Colton Cowser was 0-4 here, with four strikeouts, and was removed for Toby Welk in the top of the ninth inning. I find this decision peculiar and hope it doesn’t mean there was an injury that will cost him time.

Box score.

High-A: Asheville (Astros) 14, Aberdeen IronBirds 7

The High-A affiliate was determined to play a game as absurd as the Orioles did on Friday night, except they came out on the wrong end of it. The two teams had scored nine combined runs by the end of the first inning - Aberdeen actually led 5-4 at this point - and 33 hits across the whole game. Unfortunately, the Tourists really piled it on against IronBirds relievers in a way that Aberdeen’s batters could not do.

The game started off with rehabbing higher-level minor leaguer Noah Denoyer getting socked for four runs. He eventually pitched three innings. I guess he got his work in. Later, Antonio Velez was battered for four runs and Dan Hammer pounded for six. Ouch. The good news is the fortunes of the rebuild probably don’t hinge on them.

Shortstop Darell Hernaiz, who turned 21 earlier this month, picked up three hits from the leadoff spot for Aberdeen. He also stole a pair of bases, now with 17 in 54 games since joining Aberdeen. Outfield prospect Heston Kjerstad had two hits, a stolen base of his own, and an outfield assist. Billy Cook and Connor Pavolony each drove in three runs for Aberdeen.

Box score.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 6, Salem Red Sox 3

This team has gotten more fun to write about since so many of the 2022 draft picks joined the roster. That group contributed to Friday’s win, with Max Wagner on base three times and Silas Ardoin on base tonight. Pitchers Jared Beck - he’s the one who’s seven feet tall - and Reese Sharp combined for three scoreless innings, each striking out two batters.

It was other Shorebirds who got most of the big hits in the game, though. Elio Prado, once of the Andrew Cashner trade, had two hits and drove in two runs. Fellow Cashner trade piece Noelberth Romero also had a hit and RBI. Frederick Bencosme only had one hit in five at-bats, but still drove in two runs. That works! The Shorebirds scored five of their six runs in one inning. Maybe they would have scored more, but they had two runners cut down on the basepaths by Salem’s right fielder, Darel Belen.

Starting pitcher Juan Nunez, also from the López trade, set about trying to give those runs back right after his offense scored for him. Nunez, who in fairness wasn’t helped by Bencosme committing an error, also managed to walk seven batters in a 3.2 inning outing. That’s, uh... that’s a lot of walks.

Box score.

Bonus Florida Complex League

The FCL squad swept a doubleheader against the Pirates on Friday. The 7-1 victory in the first game saw Jackson Holliday hit his first professional home run. Holliday also doubled and drew a walk in the game; his early career OPS is 1.217. The last FCL game is Tuesday. Will we see him at Delmarva after that?

The second game of the doubleheader saw the FCL O’s drop 13 hits on the way to a 5-2 victory. My favorite prospect in the game, Samuel Basallo, had a single and drew a walk. In 40 games at this level, Basallo is now hitting .286/.361/.442.

Game 1 box score. Game 2 box score.

Saturday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: vs. Durham, 6:35. Starter: Matt Harvey
  • Bowie: vs. Somerset, 6:35. Starter: Justin Armbruester
  • Aberdeen: vs. Asheville, 6:05. Starter: Peter Van Loon
  • Delmarva: at Salem, 6:05. Starter: TBD