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Orioles minor league recap 8/6: Cowser does it all, Henderson and Ortiz stay hot

O’s affiliates won four of five games Friday, as many of their most high-profile hitting prospects continued to shine.

2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
We tip our hats to you, Gunnar Henderson.
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 7, Nashville Sounds (Brewers) 2

GUNNAR HENDERSON continued to do GUNNAR HENDERSON things, going 2-for-4 with his ninth home run at Triple-A, a solo shot in the seventh. The wunderkind infielder, the Birds’ #3 (tied) prospect in Camden Chat’s composite rankings, also stroked a leadoff double against veteran major leaguer Josh Lindblom. He raised his Norfolk OPS to .946 and continues to make a strong case for the Orioles to start his major league service clock before the end of this season.

Yusniel Diaz (#28), back from his one-game taste of the majors, also smacked a home run, his fourth. The unranked Robert Neustrom launched his 13th dinger...and also stole three bases! Nice wheels, Robert. Henderson, Diaz, and Neustrom each had multi-hit games, while Jordan Westburg (#6) and Kyle Stowers (#8 tied) contributed one hit apiece in a well-balanced offensive attack.

All three Tides pitchers in this game were players who have spent time with the Orioles this year. Bruce Zimmermann’s Triple-A stint continued with a decent enough outing. He gave up seven hits in five innings but held the Sounds to two runs. The Tides bullpen shined, with Denyi Reyes working three scoreless innings, punching out five, while Logan Gillaspie struck out the side in the ninth.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 5, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 4

It was the Colton Cowser show in Harrisburg, as the Orioles’ 2021 first-rounder and #3 (tied) prospect both hit a home run and took one away:

Not pictured: Cowser also had an outfield assist, throwing out a runner at third base on a flyout. As said above: he’s really good.

But don’t forget Joey Ortiz (#14), who has extended his scalding hot July into August. He homered and doubled as part of a two-hit night, his 12th multi-hit game in his last 17. During that span, Ortiz is slashing an unfathomable .478/.533/.925 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 75 plate appearances. Ortiz’s turnaround, after he was batting .206/.271/.325 at the end of June, has been nothing short of remarkable.

The Senators finally cooled off Connor Norby (#11), who had homered in five of his previous eight games. He took an 0-for-5 with three strikeouts this time. Cesar Prieto (#16 tied) and John Rhodes (#23) each had a hit. Man, this Bowie batting order is stacked, and soon they’ll be welcoming back the rehabbing Coby Mayo to the lineup. No wonder the Baysox have won nine of their last 10.

As for the pitchers: after starter Brenan Hanifee was chased in the fourth inning, giving up three runs, the Baysox bullpen — Adam Stauffer, Griffin McLarty, and Clayton McGinness — combined for 5.1 innings, allowing just one run.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 7, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 6 — completion of suspended game

When this game was suspended on Thursday night, the IronBirds trailed, 5-3. But given new life on Friday, Aberdeen stormed back to pull off the win. Trendon Craig’s two-run single in the fifth gave the IronBirds the lead to stay, as Aberdeen made the most of its seven hits — one each by seven different hitters — to plate seven runs. Coby Mayo (#7 prospect), on rehab, went 0-for-2 with a walk on Thursday but didn’t play in the resumption last night. Darell Hernaiz (#29 tied) replaced Mayo and went 1-for-2, while Heston Kjerstad (#10) did not play either Thursday or Friday.

Starter Ignacio Feliz was roughed up before the suspension (four innings, five runs) but Houston Roth and Thomas Girard combined for five innings of one-run ball last night, allowing the IronBirds to rally back. For Wilmington, meanwhile, Robert Hassell III — one of the top prospects acquired in the Juan Soto trade — went 0-for-5 in his debut in the Nationals’ system.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 6, Wilmington Blue Rocks 3 — 7 innings

The IronBirds went ahead and won the regularly scheduled game as well, giving them a double dose of victories for the night. Hernaiz, from the leadoff spot, had half of Aberdeen’s six hits, including a game-breaking two-run double in the sixth. Kjerstad went 0-for-2 but made the most of his outs, with both an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly.

The big story was right-hander Chayce McDermott, one half of the Trey Mancini return package, who made his O’s organizational debut...and struck out the side in the first inning, including Hassell. (Confirmed: the Mancini trade return was better than the Soto trade return. That’s just science.) Unfortunately, the game promptly went into a long rain delay, so McDermott was unable to continue past the first inning. But he certainly made a great first impression.

Box score

Low-A: Augusta GreenJackets (Braves) 14, Delmarva Shorebirds 2

Poor Delmarva failed to make it a five-game sweep for O’s affiliates on this night, and it wasn’t particularly close. Shorebirds pitchers were torched for 12 hits and also surrendered 10 walks. Not going to win many games that way! All four Delmarva pitchers coughed up multiple walks, and three of the four — Darlin Alcantara, Dylan Heid, and Eduard Monroy — allowed three or more earned runs. The Shorebirds also committed three errors, two by center fielder Mishael Deson.

Offensively, the Shorebirds stranded 11 runners on base, going a woeful 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Hey, it’s OK, it happens even to major league teams. Designated hitter Reed Trimble (#18 tied) was the only batter with a multi-hit game. Catcher Brayan Hernandez blasted his third home run.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: vs. Nashville, 6:35 PM. Starter: Mike Baumann (1-5, 4.93)
  • Bowie: at Harrisburg, 6:00 PM. Starter: Justin Armbruester (1-0, 4.55)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Wilmington, 6:05 PM. Starter: Cade Povich (O’s organizational debut)
  • Delmarva: vs. Augusta, 7:05 PM. Starter: Juan De Los Santos (2-8, 4.35)