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Orioles minor league recap 5/4: Rom twirls a gem and Willems stays hot at the plate

Wins for Norfolk and Delmarva, losses for Bowie and Aberdeen, more good stuff from Jordan Westburg, and Jackson Holliday keeps cruising.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 9, Durham Bulls (Rays) 1

Drew Rom bounced back from his toughest start of the season a week ago to put together a dominant performance on the mound here. The lefty tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out 11. His season ERA is down to 2.87, and while a promotion may not be imminent for the 23-year-old, he sure is positioning himself well in his first full year at Norfolk and as a member of the 40-man roster.

The bullpen did solid work behind him. Eduard Bazardo struck out two in a perfect seventh. Morgan McSweeney allowed one run and struck out two in the eighth. And Logan Gillaspie shut things down with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Norfolk’s offense scored early and often, compiling 15 hits and six walks in the process. Jordan Westburg had a huge day with three hits, including a three-run homer, his sixth of the year. Josh Lester added a trio of singles. Daz Cameron launched his fifth long ball of the season. And both Colton Cowser and Joey Ortiz had a pair of knocks.

One other interesting note was that Terrin Vava played a few innings of catcher for the second time this week. Norfolk’s roster has no other full-time catcher behind Anthony Bemboom right now, which has necessitated Vavra to fill in. That should get sorted out once the Orioles get the recently acquired Luis Torrens into the fold at the big league level, which would allow them to return taxi squad backstop Mark Kolozsvary back to Norfolk.

Double-A: Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 12, Bowie Baysox 7

Just about every Baysox pitcher that toed the rubber had some trouble in this game. Carlos Tavera started and allowed four runs on three hits, including two home runs, and a walk over 3.2 innings. Kade Strowd recorded just one out, but not before serving up five runs on five hits. Houston Roth was next up, and he did manage to provide four innings of length, but he also got bit by the homer bug. All three runs he allowed came on one swing in the seventh inning. Wandisson Charles was the only hurler to come out unscathed. He tossed one scoreless frame.

However, there was good news in the lineup. Heston Kjerstad doubled and drove in a run. Zach Watson had two doubles, a walk, two runs scored, and two RBI at the top of the order. Billy Cook smacked his first homer of the year. And Jacob Teter laced a pair of singles.

High-A: Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) 4, Aberdeen IronBirds 2

Jackson Holliday continues to find his groove in High-A. The shortstop had a single, a double, and a run scored. Max Wagner launched his second dong of the year and walked twice. Jud Fabian singled and walked from the leadoff spot. And while Dylan Beavers had a tough 0-for-5 with eight runners left off base, he did manage to swipe his third bag of the year.

Another nice start for Jean Pinto: four innings, four hits, one run, three walks, seven strikeouts. His season ERA is down to 2.45. The middle relievers had rougher days as Carson Carter and Dylan Heid combined to allow three runs over the next three innings. Ryan Hennen did keep things close with his clean eighth inning.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 6, Carolina Mudcats (Brewers) 2

If you weren’t already, it may be time to pay attention to Creed Willems. The eighth-round pick in 2021 was 3-for-3 here with a double, a home run, and three RBI. His season OPS is up to 1.245. His progress from last season, when he slashed .190/.264/.321, is impressive. He’s hit six home runs in 17 games. It took him 68 games to hit four long balls in 2022. Other top offensive performers for Delmarva were Douglas Hodo III (2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored) and Adam Crampton (two singles, two RBI).

The Shorebirds used four pitchers to limit the Mudcats to two runs. Alfred Vega started and threw three shutout innings. Moises Chace got the win while tossing three innings and allowing two runs on three hits, four walks, and three strikeouts. Luis Sanchez struck out five over two scoreless innings. And Yaqui Rivera recorded the final three outs, two of which came by strikeout.

Box Scores

Thursday’s Schedule

  • Norfolk: vs Durham, 12:05. SP: DL Hall (0-1, 4.41 ERA)
  • Bowie: vs Erie, 6:35. SP: Justin Armbruester (1-1, 1.40 ERA)
  • Aberdeen: at Brooklyn, 7:00, SP: Daniel Federman (1-1, 4.60 ERA)
  • Delmarva:vs Carolina, 7:05., SP: Wyatt Cheney (1-1, 6.00 ERA)