Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 13, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 11
Hoo boy, was this a wild one, as the Tides one-upped their 12-run explosion on Tuesday with a 13-spot against a porous Charlotte pitching staff. The Tides jumped out to a huge lead with a six-run first inning, then continued adding on insurance runs as the Knights tried to inch ever closer.
Norfolk’s offensive attack was very much top heavy. The top six hitters in the lineup combined for all 13 hits and 13 runs, while the seven through nine batters went a combined 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts. The best showing came from forgotten prospect Yusniel Diaz, who rattled off a 4-for-5 night with his fifth home run and five RBIs. We may never see him in an O’s uniform again, but perhaps he can finish his season with some momentum for wherever his career next takes him. Batting behind Diaz, veteran Brett Phillips collected three hits and a walk, knocking his third home run.
Among the high-profile prospects, shortstop Joey Ortiz (tied as the #24 prospect in Camden Chat’s composite rankings) continued his domination of Triple-A, swatting his third homer as part of a two-hit night. He’s batting .397 and OPSing 1.125 in 15 games. Leadoff man Jordan Westburg (#6 tied) reached base four times, finishing a triple shy of the cycle as he blasted his 15th homer for Norfolk (and 24th of the year). Colton Cowser (#5) had two hits and a walk.
As you can imagine by the final score, the Tides had some pitching issues. Drew Rom (#15) suffered his first terrible outing since his promotion to Triple-A, giving up seven runs, seven hits, and four walks in 4.1 innings. Blaine Knight also struggled in relief (wait, Knight gave up three runs to...the Knights? Clearly he’s a double agent.) But Logan Gillaspie earned the win with two scoreless relief innings, and Nick Vespi got the final out in the ninth to strand the tying run on base. Vespi’s flawless 0.00 ERA at Norfolk remains intact in 23 appearances.
Double-A: Bowie Baysox 7, Akron RubberDucks 3 (Guardians)
Bowie’s battle for a second-half division title is going to come down to this final week of the regular season. The Baysox did their part by winning last night, but they remain one game behind the Erie SeaWolves, who won in Richmond.
Connor Norby (#12 prospect) got things started on the right foot with a leadoff home run, his 16th for Bowie and 24th across two levels this year. Top-25 O’s prospects comprised the first five hitters in the Baysox lineup: Norby, Coby Mayo (#6 tied), John Rhodes (#23), Darell Hernaiz (#24 tied), and Hudson Haskin (#22). None besides Norby did anything particularly noteworthy on this night, but first baseman Andrew Daschbach slugged a homer.
On the mound, starter Justin Armbruester worked four innings, giving up two runs, before the bullpen took over. Easton Lucas, acquired in the 2019 Jonathan Villar trade, picked up the win in relief with three strong innings, and Conner Loeprich tossed two scoreless for his sixth save.
Thursday’s scheduled games:
- Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 12:05 PM. Starter: Chris Vallimont (5-6, 5.30)
- Bowie: at Akron, 6:35 PM. Starter: TBD
- Aberdeen: vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 PM (League Championship Series, Game 2). Starter: TBD