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Orioles minor league recap 5/13: Cowser, Westburg lead Norfolk to another win

The Tides continued to steamroll their opposition, while 2021 draft pick Alex Pham struck out 11 in five scoreless innings for Aberdeen.

Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins
Colton Cowser can hit, y’all.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 8, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins) 4

The Tides offense did typical Tides offense things, smacking 11 hits and eight runs to cruise to a comfortable win over the Jumbo Shrimp. Colton Cowser (Camden Chat’s #5 prospect) continued to destroy Triple-A pitching, reaching base three times on two singles and a walk to improve his average to .320 and OPS to 1.012. Jordan Westburg (#6) also had a big night, with a triple, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs. Lewin Díaz, playing against his former team, added three hits and drove in two runs. Norfolk decided this one early with a six-run third inning that featured RBIs by Cowser, Westburg, Joey Ortiz (#7), and Connor Norby (#9). It was a prospect bonanza!

On the mound, starter Chris Vallimont was nothing special (four innings, four runs, four walks), but Ryan Watson did an outstanding job in long relief, working four shutout innings and allowing just two baserunners. Dillon Tate had the first perfect outing of his rehab stint, getting a strikeout in a 1-2-3 fifth, though he threw just five of 11 pitches for strikes. The Tides are now 27-9.

Box score

Double-A: Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 3, Bowie Baysox 2

The Baysox fell to 9-20 with a low-scoring loss, but Heston Kjerstad (#10) had another good game, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI out of the leadoff spot. He’s hitting .302 with a 1.048 OPS. It wasn’t such a good night for Coby Mayo (#8), who went 0-for-4 and committed an error at third base. Cesar Prieto’s (#23 tied) two-hit game pushed his season average over .400 (.405).

Bowie took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, thanks to five scoreless, two-hit frames from Garrett Stalllings, but the Senators rallied for three runs against reliever Peter Van Loon. Harrisburg outfielder Robert Hassell III, the Nationals’ #2 prospect and part of last year’s Juan Soto trade, contributed three of the Senators’ six hits.

Box score

High-A: Hudson Valley Renegades (Yankees) 9, Aberdeen IronBirds 7

This was a roller coaster of a game for the IronBirds (13-16), who jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then fell behind, 5-3, rallied in the eighth to take a 6-5 lead, only to cough up four runs in the ninth for their eventual 9-7 loss. Starting pitcher Alex Pham, a 19th-round pick in 2021, was absolutely brilliant for the ‘Birds. The right-hander worked five scoreless innings and racked up an eye-popping 11 strikeouts, surrendering just one hit. He lowered his ERA to 1.93 in six appearances, three starts. But relievers Kyle Virbitzky and Dylan Heid allowed nine runs between them, and that was that.

The Aberdeen offense had no trouble getting on base, working nine walks in addition to their seven hits. The IronBirds also ran wild on the bases, going 5-for-5 in steal attempts, including three more from speedster Luis Valdez, who has swiped 15 without getting caught this season. Infielder Frederick Bencosme (#20 prospect) led the club with three hits. The trio of highly regarded 2022 draft picks — Dylan Beavers (#11), Jud Fabian (#13), and Max Wagner (#16) — were a combined 0-for-10, though each walked at least once. Top prospect Jackson Holliday did not start, but entered the game in the eighth and went 0-for-1 with a walk and strikeout.

Box score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers) 2

The Shorebirds didn’t get much on the scoreboard early against Down East starter Brock Porter, the Rangers’ #5 prospect, but picked up the pace once the Wood Ducks’ bullpen got involved. Delmarva ended up with 10 hits, and the club’s best prospect, Samuel Basallo (#14), played a prominent role. The 18-year-old Dominican, serving as the designated hitter, led the team with three hits, including an RBI single in the third and a game-breaking two-run double in the ninth. Basallo even stole a base. He’s batting .333 with an .896 OPS. Right fielder Douglas Hodo III doubled twice and threw out a runner at the plate.

On the mound, Bradley Brehmer (five innings), Luis Sanchez (two innings), and Reese Sharp (two innings) held the Wood Ducks to two runs, striking out 12. The Shorebirds improved to 16-13 on the year.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Jacksonville, 6:35 PM. Starter: Bruce Zimmermann (1-2, 3.58)
  • Bowie: at Harrisburg, 6:00 PM. Starter: Chayce McDermott (2-2, 2.84)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Hudson Valley, 7:05 PM. Starter: Cooper Chandler (1-1, 3.45)
  • Delmarva: at Down East, 5:00 PM. Starter: Juan Nunez (0-0, 2.92 ERA)