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Orioles minor league recap 7/1: Jackson Holliday crushes walkoff homer for Aberdeen

The top prospect in baseball did something most befitting of that title, with Holliday’s heroics leading to one of two walkoff wins for O’s affiliates on this night.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 5, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 4 — 10 inn.

It’s a walkoff walk! Joey Ortiz’s free pass with the bases loaded in the 10th pushed the Tides to a perfect 3-0 in the second half. With the winning run at third in the 10th, the Knights elected to intentionally walk two batters to load the bases for Ortiz, which did not turn out well for them. Ortiz reached base four times in the game, with two doubles and two walks. He’s hitting .345 with a .991 OPS at Triple-A, and I can’t help wondering why he never got to play when he was on the Orioles.

The Tides were on base all night, collecting 10 hits and walking 10 times. Had they not gone 1-for-12 with men in scoring position and stranded 16 runners on base, they might not have needed 10 innings to win this one. Oh well, a win is a win. Josh Lester joined Ortiz in the two-doubles-and-two-walks department, and Colton Cowser singled, walked twice, and stole a base. Connor Norby was 2-for-5 with a double. Heston Kjerstad contributed a hit and sac fly.

Starter Justin Armbruester gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits in 5.2 innings, striking out seven. Erstwhile Oriole Joey Krehbiel worked two perfect innings of relief for the win. The Tides overcame a two-homer night by Charlotte right fielder Oscar Colás, who earlier this year had a walkoff hit in the majors against the Orioles. This guy needs to find a different organization to pick on.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 7, Somerset Patriots (Yankees) 6

A game that the Baysox once led 5-0 got a little bit too close for comfort, but Bowie held on for the win, snapping its three-game losing streak. Starter Chayce McDermott started off outstanding with four scoreless innings — striking out six consecutive hitters at one point — but then tired late. He walked the bases loaded in the sixth before exiting, and reliever Kade Strowd allowed all three of his inherited runners to score.

The first three hitters in the Baysox lineup did the heavy lifting for the offense, driving in all seven runs. Leadoff man Jud Fabian went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and #2 hitter Coby Mayo capped his sizzling hot June by crushing his 15th home run, eight of which came this month. Get this man to Norfolk, stat! But both were outshined on this night by #3 hitter John Rhodes, who collected three hits — coming a triple short of the cycle — drove in three, and socked his fifth home run. The big night pushed Rhodes’ OPS over .800 (.811) for the first time in more than two months.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 5, Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox) 3

If you thought a walkoff walk was exciting, how about a walkoff home run? And how about if that home run was hit by the top prospect in all of baseball? Then have I got the game for you.

Yeah, that happened. Holliday, who had been 0-for-3 with a walk before that at-bat, certainly saved the best for last. Look at that beautiful swing!

Aberdeen banged out 12 hits on the day, including four singles from designated hitter Silas Ardoin. Ryan Higgins was 2-for-4 with a double, and Jacob Teter homered. As for the pitchers, Ryan Long and Cameron Weston each worked four innings. Long allowed just one earned run, but Weston bested him with a scoreless outing, allowing just two baserunners. Weston has thrown 10.1 innings for the IronBirds without allowing an earned run.

Box score

Low-A: Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) 13, Delmarva Shorebirds 0

The Shorebirds straight up did not have a good time. Their offense was held to just three hits, all singles, with Hillcats right-hander Austin Peterson working eight scoreless innings despite just two strikeouts. And the Delmarva pitching staff was torched for 13 hits, 14 runs, and seven walks, including poor Randy Berigüete, who gave up six runs and recorded just one out.

Four of the Shorebirds’ five pitchers were scored upon, but kudos to the exception, righty Brayner Sánchez, who worked two scoreless, hitless innings. The 22-year-old, just up from the Florida Complex League, was making his debut appearance for a full-season affiliate.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 6:35 PM. Starter: Chris Vallimont (2-5, 5.02)
  • Bowie: vs. Somerset, 6:35 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: vs. Winston-Salem, 7:05 PM. Starter: Kyle Virbitsky (2-1, 4.91)
  • Delmarva: at Lynchburg, 6:30 PM. Starter: Edgar Portes (3-2, 4.03)