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Orioles minor league recap 8/27: Delmarva’s walkoff win completes a clean sweep on the farm

All four O’s affiliates won well-pitched games on Friday, with Creed Willems providing a dramatic ninth-inning blast for the Shorebirds.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 10, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins) 2 — F/7

The only thing that could halt the red-hot Tides tonight was the rain, which washed out the final two innings of this contest. Every batter in the Norfolk lineup had at least one hit except Jordan Westburg, and he drew two walks. It was a well-balanced attack, with six different hitters collecting an RBI and seven scoring a run. Kelvin Gutierrez had a two-run triple and Brett Cumberland a two-run double. Gunnar Henderson, playing shortstop, went 1-for-5.

Things went just as well on the mound, where veteran Matt Harvey went the (seven-inning) distance, racking up seven strikeouts and surrendering just two runs, both on solo homers. The Matt Harvey ship has probably sailed in Baltimore, but he’s trying to keep himself in the conversation as a September rotation option just in case.

In the lineup for Jacksonville was outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, a highly prized international amateur in 2018 who spurned the Orioles to sign with the Marlins. Mesa is now 25 and is batting .196 with a .434 OPS in Triple-A, and has a career minor league OPS of .582. I doubt the O’s are regretting missing out on him.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 4, Altoona Curve (Pirates) 1

The prospect-laden Baysox lineup got it done again, as Colton Cowser, Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, and Coby Mayo combined for eight of Bowie’s nine hits and all three RBIs (the fourth run scored on an error). Ortiz was especially hot, smoking two doubles as part of a three-hit night. Norby smashed a home run, his 12th for Bowie and 20th of the year overall. Norby’s Double-A OPS is up to .941.

It was another fine night on the hill for right-hander Justin Armbruester, who came one out shy of a quality start, settling for 5.2 innings of one-run ball. Armbruester struck out eight and gave up only two hits. The 2021 twelfth-round pick has a 3.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 51.1 innings for Bowie. Righty Tyler Burch, acquired in the Freddy Galvis trade last year, worked 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief to notch his second save.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 9, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 2

The IronBirds had a 7-1 lead by the third inning and cruised from there, with a potent 5-for-11 performance with runners in scoring position leading their offensive attack. A Davis Tavarez grand slam in the third was the big blow. Leadoff man Luis Valdez reached base twice and swiped second, his seventh steal for Aberdeen and 66th of the year. Heston Kjerstad had the night off.

The law offices of Van Loon and Federman handled the pitching duties for the IronBirds. Peter Van Loon worked the first five, giving up just an unearned run and two hits. He earned the win to improve to 10-3. Daniel Federman gobbled up the four-inning save with a one-run, three-hit effort.

Box score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) 2

The Shorebirds were on their way to becoming the only O’s affiliate to lose tonight...until they pulled off a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth, erasing a 2-1 deficit on Creed Willems’ walkoff, three-run homer.

What a great moment for Willems, the Orioles’ 2021 eighth-rounder. His first full professional season has been a challenging one — a .186/.263/.319 batting line, and reported struggles with his weight — but hopefully this big hit will get him trending in the right direction.

First overall pick Jackson Holliday went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his second game at Low-A. Two other 2022 high draftees, Jud Fabian and Dylan Beavers, continued their hot hitting, with Fabian mashing his third home run and Beavers collecting two hits. Beavers added an outfield assist from center field.

As with Aberdeen, it took only a two-pitcher effort to get through this one. Starter Deivy Cruz went five innings, allowing two runs and three hits, and righty Ryan Long worked a very effective long relief, striking out six in four scoreless frames.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Jacksonville, 6:35 PM. Starter: Drew Rom (0-0, 1.93)
  • Bowie: vs. Altoona, 6:35 PM. Starter: Garrett Stallings (5-10, 6.61)
  • Aberdeen: at Wilmington, 6:35 PM. Starter: Ignacio Feliz (5-2, 4.06)
  • Delmarva: vs. Lynchburg, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD