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Orioles minor league recap 4/12: Norfolk suffers walk-off heartbreak in Nashville

Tuesday was littered with painful losses overshadowing good performances by prospects, as Delmarva was the only winner.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles Daniel Kucin Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Nashville Sounds (Brewers) 8, Norfolk Tides 5 (F/11)

After going up 5-0 in the first two innings, it looked like the Tides would cruise to a win Tuesday night. This proved to be far from the case, as a late inning collapse and a walk-off, three-run home run washed away their hopes of winning. Norfolk looked to overwhelm Nashville early on, as the first three batters all reached base in front of Joey Ortiz. The shortstop drove home the first run of the game on a sac fly to center, before Ryan O’Hearn cleared the bases with a three-run home run to right. Ortiz would strike again in the 2nd, tripling to drive in Colton Cowser and stretching the lead to 5-0.

That early lead looked like it would be plenty for starter Drew Rom, as the lefty delivered a near-flawless start. The former fourth-round pick breezed through six scoreless innings, only giving up three hits and striking out four. The bullpen, however, couldn’t come close to matching Rom’s success. Three of the four relievers Norfolk used gave up multiple runs, as the pen combined to allow eight runs over 4.1 innings and three home runs.

Eduard Bazardo gave up a two-run home run in the 8th to tie the game and ultimately force extra innings. After both teams went three up, three down in the 10th, Darwinzon Hernandez went out for a second inning in the 11th. Hernandez struck out the first batter, before giving up a single to move the Manfred Man to third and a home run to end the game.

The loss overshadows a positive day for the Tides offensively. All hitters 1-7 registered a hit, while Cowser, O’Hearn, Josh Lester and Jordan Westburg all had multi-hit evenings. The late-inning collapse represents one of the few speed bumps the Tides have faced this year while starting the season 7-2.

Box Score

Double-A: Akron RubberDucks (Indians) 7, Bowie Baysox 4

The Baysox started out strong but ran out of steam in a come-from-behind loss to the RubberDucks. Baysox shortstop Gilbert Lara started the scoring in the second innings, dropping a single into right field to score two runs. Bowie couldn’t hold that lead though, as starter Garrett Stallings gave up a two-run HR in the top of the 3rd to tie the game at two. Continuing the back-and-forth affair, Cesar Prieto restored the Baysox lead with a solo HR in the bottom of the 3rd.

Stallings would leave the game with that lead intact, after giving the Baysox four solid innings of two-run ball with four Ks. The bullpen didn’t hold the lead for long, though, as a two-out single and a Coby Mayo throwing error allowed the RubberDucks to tie things at three in the fifth.

That was the last time Bowie would see a lead, as a two-run HR in the top of the 7th put Akron up for good. Heston Kjerstad tried to start a rally with a solo HR of his own in the 8th, but the rest of the Baysox bats couldn’t follow suit. After two more Akron runs in the top of the 9th Kjerstad came up again with two outs and two on in the bottom of the inning. The lefty slugger from Arkansas couldn’t launch a second long ball, though, grounding out to second base to end the game.

Box Score

High-A: Hudson Valley Renegades 15 (Yankees), Aberdeen IronBirds 1

The IronBirds never really got off the ground Tuesday night, as they gave up runs early an often in a loss to the Renegades. Hudson Valley’s Spencer Jones hit a solo HR off starter Alex Pham to lead off the bottom of the 1st—and that certainly set the tone for a long night in Fishkill, NY. Pham would go on to walk in a run in the second inning before a throwing error by catcher Silas Ardoin allowed two more runs to score. Jones hit a three-run homer in the 4th to end Pham’s night and leave the IronBirds down 7-0.

The bullpen didn’t hold up much better, with reliever Kyle Virbitsky allowing six runs and another two homers across the 5th and 6th innings. It wasn’t a completely lost day for Aberdeen, though, as outfielder Isaac Bellony provided the lone bright spot offensively. The switch-hitting 21-year-old collected three hits, including a solo shot in the 9th that gave the IronBirds their only run.

Box Score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (White Sox) 2

Catcher Creed Willems was the hero for Delmarva in their Tuesday night win over Kannapolis. With the Shorebirds trailing 2-1 in the 4th, The eighth-round pick from the 2021 draft demolished a ball to center field for a two-run HR. The homer gave Delmarva a lead that they would never give back, as their bullpen put up zeroes for the rest of the night.

After starter Wyatt Chaney had a relatively pedestrian night—lasting three innings while giving up two runs—2022 draft pick Bradley Brehmer shined in his High-A debut. The righty from Indiana scattered four hits across four innings, holding the Cannon Ballers scoreless and striking out two. His fellow former Hoosier Reese Sharp followed Brehmer’s lead, posting two scoreless innings to earn a save.

Willems was the standout offensive star for the Shorebirds, not just for his big home run, but for an all-around excellent performance. He led Delmarva with three hits and four RBIs, while also scoring two runs. Through three games this season, Willems now has two HRs, seven RBIs and four extra-base hits. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick Jackson Holliday had an uncharacteristically quiet night, going hitless in three at-bats while drawing a walk and striking out once.

Box Score

Wednesday’s Scheduled Games

Norfolk Tides @ Nashville Sounds, 7:35pm ET: Chris Vallimont (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Robert Gasser (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Bowie Baysox vs. Akron RubberDucks, 6:35pm ET: Chase McDermott (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jack Leftwich (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Aberdeen IronBirds @ Hudson Valley Renegades, 6:05pm ET: TBD vs. Joel Valdez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Delmarva Shorebirds vs. Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, 7:05pm ET: Deivy Cruz (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBD