Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 2, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins) 1—4th inning (Susp.)
The good news coming out of Jacksonville Tuesday: Jordan Westburg (Orioles #5 prospect, MLB Top 100 #80) hit a two-run home run in the third inning, giving him the Orioles minor league home run lead with 20 and Norfolk a 2-0 lead. The bad news, after a lead-off double in the fourth from Jacob Nottingham, followed by a Brett Cumberland walk, the game was suspended due to rain. It’s scheduled to resume Wednesday at 5:35pm, followed by another, seven-inning game against the Jumbo Shrimp.
The game also provided mixed news in that GUNNAR HENDERSON (Orioles #1, MLB #2) was still in the lineup for the Tides. There was plenty of speculation swirling around Jacksonville that the Tides would hold their young superstar out of the lineup in advance of a promotion to the majors. Perhaps the silver lining is that HENDERSON started at second base for the Tides, continuing to expand his positional versatility. Over the last week, the sweet-swinging 21-year-old has made his first appearances of the season at both second and first base. Perhaps it is this burgeoning versatility that will ultimately push Mike Elias & Co. into finally pulling the trigger on GUNNAR’S promotion.
Double-A: Altoona Curve (Pirates) 7, Bowie Baysox 5
Through the top of the third inning Tuesday night, the Baysox were down 5-0 and all hope for a competitive game seemed lost. Cesar Prieto (Orioles #21) then attempted to spark a rally. The Bowie third baseman got the Baysox on the board with an RBI double in the third and then singled another run in the fifth. First baseman Toby Welk followed up that Prieto single with a two-RBI double to cut the Altoona lead to 6-4.
Connor Norby (Orioles #12) then singled home Colton Cowser (Orioles #4, MLB #43) in the sixth to bring the game within one run. That was the closest it ever got for the Baysox, as the Curve added another run in the ninth, before Prieto, Hudson Haskin (Orioles #24) and Adam Hall went down 1-2-3 to end the game.
Prieto finished the game 2-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Norby and shortstop Joseph Ortiz (Orioles #19) also had two games as the Orioles minor league system continues to flex its infield depth. With Cowser’s only offense contribution being a third-inning single and scoring two runs, it was a slow day at the ballpark for the rising star. Currently the owner of a .327 average with an OPS over 1.000, Cowser is almost certainly angling for a promotion to Norfolk in 2023, if not sooner.
High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 8, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 2
The IronBirds were ready for takeoff from the first inning, as they scored in each of the first three innings to jump out to an early 5-1 lead. Aberdeen would add another two runs in the fifth and their final run in the seventh, ultimately coasting through the last couple innings for an easy W. Starter Connor Gillispie cruised through a relatively easy 4.1 innings, only allowing two hits, the two runs (one earned) and striking out seven. The sevens Ks were the most the former ninth-round pick has had in a start since punching out seven Jersey Shore Blue Claws back on June 17.
Offensively, the IronBirds were fueled by a career day from first baseman TT Bowens. The 24-year-old product of Central Connecticut State went 3-3 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. The three RBIs were a season-high for the Aberdeen three-hole hitter, and it was only the third time all season Bowens collected 3+ hits. Outfielder Donta’ Williams also collected three RBIs on two run-scoring walks and an RBI single in the fifth.
Heston Kjerstad (Orioles #10) continues his up and down time with the IronBirds, going 0-3 with an RBI sac fly for Aberdeen’s last run in the seventh. The good news is that Kjerstad broke the Mendoza line last week vs. Asheville but still seems very far away from a call-up to Bowie—let alone Baltimore.
Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 8, Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) 7 (11)
After making it through a game suspended due to rain, a failed comeback and a blowout W, we now reach the craziest game of all from Tuesday. The seventh inning was where the wildness of this one really began. A run-scoring wild pitch and a balk to bring home a run—sandwiched around a Jud Fabian (Orioles #25) RBI double—saw the Shorebirds erase a 4-1 deficit to tie the game. Reed Trimble then brought Fabian home on a groundout to short, and Delmarva took its first lead of the game.
That lead was not enough, however, as a lead-off HR for the Hillcats in the ninth meant this game was destined for extras. After a quiet 10th, Lynchburg scored its Manfred Man and then some to take a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the 11th. Delmarva's Manfred Man, Silas Ardoin (Orioles #27), then scored on a wild pitch, before an RBI groundout from shortstop Carter Young tied the game at seven. Dylan Beavers (Orioles #8) then took on the role of hero, singling to center to score Noelberth Romero and walk things off in Salisbury.
The 2022 draft picks on Delmarva’s roster continued to make a strong impression for the Shorebirds, as Fabian, Beavers, Max Wagner (Orioles #16) and Ardoin all collected a hit on Tuesday. Expect things to only get more interesting on the Eastern Shore, as the Orioles announced that No.1 pick Jackson Holliday will make his debut for Delmarva on Thursday.
Wednesday’s Scheduled Games
- Norfolk Tides @ Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 7:05pm ET. Starting Pitcher: Bruce Zimmermann
- Bowie Baysox vs. Altoona Curve, 6:35pm ET. Starting Pitcher: TBD
- Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 7:05pm ET. Starting Pitcher: Jean Pinto
- Delmarva Shorebirds vs. Lynchburg Hillcats, 7:05pm ET. Starting Pitcher: TBD