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Orioles minor league recap 4/7: Norfolk and Bowie toss shutouts, Basallo goes deep in Delmarva debut

An Aberdeen rainout postponed the first full night of action, but pitching stole the show with a pair of shutouts.

Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 3, Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 0

Even with Grayson Rodriguez in the big leagues, fans would likely think of several other Norfolk starting pitchers before getting to Ryan Watson. The 25-year-old did his best to change that narrative with five shutout innings in his first appearance of the season.

Watson, a former minor-league free agent, limited Gwinnett to only two hits in five innings. His four walks left room for improvement, but the righty picked up his first win of the season. He tallied a 7-5 record and a 3.44 ERA over 107.1 innings last season.

Chris Vallimont tossed the final four frames and somehow managed to outperform Watson. Vallimont, a former waiver claim, did not allow a hit. He struck out four, walked two, and picked up the elusive four-inning save.

Josh Lester got Norfolk on the board with an RBI groundout in the third inning. Hudson Haskin drove in a run with a single in the fifth, and Lewin Díaz followed with a base hit to plate Lester. Lester and Díaz represent two-thirds of the first basemen looking to hit their way to Baltimore this season.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 8, Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) 0

Not to be outdone, Bowie picked up right where Norfolk left off. Justin Armbruester scattered five hits and a walk over five strong innings. The righty, who ranks 22nd in Camden Chat’s top prospect composite list, struck out four and did not allow an extra-base hit.

Apparently the no-hit, four-inning save isn’t quite as elusive as I originally thought. Chayce McDermott followed in Vallimont’s footsteps with four strong frames. McDermott struck out six and walked a pair in another impressive performance.

Heston Kjerstad gave Bowie the lead for good with a solo shot in the fourth inning. Kjerstad finished 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Coby Mayo walked twice and added an RBI double in the sixth. Shayne Fontana finished 2-for-4, but César Prieto went hitless in five trips.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) PPD: Rain.

The game will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on April 8.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 11, Salem Red Sox 7

Delmarva’s pitching may have bucked the trend, but the offense did plenty to secure a victory. Samuel Basallo lived up to his strong reputation in his stateside debut. Basallo finished 3-for-5 with a 454-foot blast that should have O’s fans salivating.

Elio Prado homered in a three-hit effort, and Jackson Holliday added a double and a walk. Creed Willems went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks while playing first base, and Trendon Craig scored three times.

Juan Nunez allowed three runs in 2.2 innings. Edgar Portes recorded the win after allowing a run in 1.1 innings. Reese Sharp earned the save with two scoreless innings.

Box scores from Thursday’s games can be found here

Today’s Schedule

  • Norfolk: vs. Gwinnett (Braves), 6:35. SP: Bruce Zimmermann
  • Bowie: at Hartford (Rockies), 7:10. SP: Connor Gillispie
  • Aberdeen: vs. Wilmington (Nationals), 7:05, SP: TBD
  • Delmarva: Salem (Red Sox), 7:05., SP: Alfred Vega