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Orioles minor league recap 5/6: Heston Kjerstad homers again, #8 this year

Jackson Holliday got on base four times and stole two bases in Aberdeen’s victory

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Heston be homerin’
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Durham (Rays) 2, Norfolk Tides 1

Tides pitchers only allowed five hits, which is usually a pretty good recipe for a victory. However, Norfolk went 1-12 with runners in scoring position and the game ended with the bases loaded.

Erstwhile Oriole Cole Irvin made the start for Norfolk, tossing a strong, if losing, seven innings. Irvin allowed four hits and did not walk a batter, but took the loss since he gave up two runs. That’s the kind of outing we were hoping to see from him in Baltimore. Perhaps he’ll get the next chance if a big league starter stumbles.

Among Norfolk’s complement of prospects, Connor Norby delivered a 2-5 with a double. Colton Cowser took an 0-3, though he still walked twice... which lowers his OBP. Jordan Westburg went 2-5 as well and scored the lone Tides run. Joey Ortiz’s double, his only hit of the game, drove in Westburg in the eighth inning.

Norfolk box score.

Double-A: Erie (Tigers) 7, Bowie Baysox 4

Let’s do the good news first. Outfield prospect Heston Kjerstad has done it again. He had two hits on Friday night, including his eighth home run of the season, and drew a walk besides. Through 22 games, the dude is hitting .294/.388/.671. Hell yeah, man. Infielder César Prieto also added a pair of hits and a walk to bring his season OPS up to .877.

News that is less good: Lefty pitching prospect Cade Povich didn’t have a great outing, only managing to pitch 4.2 innings while allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits. It’s not like he was handing out walks like Halloween candy, either. He didn’t walk anyone, and struck out seven. A little bit different luck and he might have had a solid outing, except, he didn’t.

Both of the rehabbing Orioles relievers, Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate, pitched in this game. Things went well for Givens as he struck out three batters in a scoreless inning where he only issued a walk. Tate, things did not go well for him. He retired only a single batter, but allowed two hits and a walk. Later reliever Connor Loeprich let two inherited runners score so three were charged to Tate’s ERA. His rehab games have not been the greatest.

Bowie box score.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 10, Brooklyn (Mets) 3

Jackson Holliday? Jackson Holliday! The 2022 #1 overall pick has continued his good start here at this level, singling twice, walking twice, and stealing two bases on Friday night. He scored three runs. That’s a nine game OPS of .870 at High-A.

The dramatic statement in this game, however, was made by Baltimore-born University of Maryland product Maxwell Costes, who crushed a grand slam in the first inning and already has three home runs in three High-A games. Aberdeen never needed to look back after that. Costes is 23, so a little old for this level, but more power to him for having a great first series here. Dylan Beavers, Max Wagner, and Frederick Bencosme were all on base twice, as was catcher Silas Ardoin.

Starting the game for the IronBirds was early strikeout machine Trace Bright. He did that thing again, striking out seven batters in 3.2 innings, though he gave up three runs in that time thanks to giving up two home runs. Ryan Long, the honorary cousin of Camden Chatter Stacey, tossed four scoreless innings of relief, striking out six batters.

Aberdeen box score.

Low-A: Carolina (Brewers) 7, Delmarva Shorebirds 1

Not too much to say about this one. The Shorebirds were held to three hits, committed two errors, took two pitch clock violations, and even had a shift violation charged against them.

Starting pitcher Deivy Cruz allowed a run in four innings, striking out four batters against two hits and two walks. Serving as the first baseman, Creed “The Steed” Willems drove in the lone Shorebirds run, his 20th RBI of the season. Willems, an eighth round pick two years ago who struggled last year, is OPSing 1.154 through 19 games.

Delmarva box score.

Saturday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: vs. Durham, 6:35. Starter: Ryan Watson
  • Bowie: vs. Erie, 6:35. Starter: Peter Van Loon
  • Aberdeen: at Brooklyn, 2:00. Starter: Alex Pham ( free game of the day)
  • Delmarva: vs. Carolina, 7:05. Starter: Bradley Brehmer