Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 9, Charlotte (White Sox) 0
You know it’s a fun one when Grayson Rodriguez pitched five scoreless innings and that isn’t even the biggest story of the game. It is a great sign, though, that the 2018 first round pick, in his first outing back at Triple-A, plowed through five innings on 72 pitches, holding the Knights to just two hits and one walk. Might we see him in Baltimore before year’s end? I still hope.
At the top for this game was shortstop and leadoff hitter Jordan Westburg, who Charlotte literally could not get out. He came to the plate five times and had five hits, including his Orioles minor league-leading 26th home run of the season. Westburg now has an .877 OPS as the Tides season winds down. 2021 first rounder Colton Cowser was 1-5 in the game.
Beau Sulser pitched three scoreless innings and Nick Vespi finished off with a scoreless ninth. The three Norfolk pitches combined to allow only three hits in the game. With this victory, the Tides have crawled back above .500 for the season at 70-69. They’ve won five straight games and are 11-3 in the month of September.
Double-A: Bowie Baysox 10, Akron (Guardians) 3
Ten runs on eight hits for the Baysox here, which is impressive efficiency. That’s because they capitalized on Akron pitchers not being able to throw strikes and drew a combined ten walks. Ten! This included three walks from designated hitter Donta’ Williams, playing his first game at Bowie. He also hit his first homer of the level.
Second baseman Connor Norby, who’s been chasing his fellow infielder Westburg for the O’s minor league home run crown, had two hits including a dinger for his 25th home run of the season. Norby is OPSing .964 in his time with the Baysox this season.
Picking up the win for the Baysox on the back of seven innings was Garrett Stallings, who struck out nine RubberDucks while allowing three runs on six hits.
This was a crucial win for Bowie as they entered the day tied with Erie for the second half division title and a postseason spot. Erie holds the tiebreaker, so the Baysox really need to get ahead of the SeaWolves. They’ve got a game edge now, with two to play, thanks to Erie’s loss to Richmond on Friday. Just gotta keep winning.
High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 5, Brooklyn (Mets) 4
This win for Aberdeen gives them the victory in their best-of-three playoff series, 2-1. They advance to the South Atlantic League championship, another best-of-three, which will be played against the Rays High-A affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, who beat Rome on Friday to advance themselves. Game 1 of that series is Sunday. Bowling Green, like Aberdeen, was a first half division title winner, though that squad was good in the second half too.
The IronBirds were able to win thanks to a four-run fifth inning rally that put them on top for good. Heston Kjerstad hit a two-run double that broke the tie. Kjerstad also walked. Outfielder Dylan Beavers was on base twice as well thanks to a single and intentional walk. First baseman TT Bowens beat them all with two hits, two walks, and two runs driven in.
For the IronBirds pitching staff, it was something of a patchwork game in the clincher. Five pitchers combined for the nine innings, including fresh AFL roster choice Nick Richmond’s two-thirds of an inning in relief of Ignacio Feliz, who faltered in his own third inning of relief.
Saturday’s Scheduled Games
- Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 6:35. Starter: Bruce Zimmermann
- Bowie: at Akron, 7:05. Starter: TBD