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Orioles minor league recap 7/19: Mayo launches first Triple-A HR in big win for Tides

Three of the four affiliates were victorious Tuesday as they came through with a blowout win, a dominant pitching performance and some late inning drama.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 12, Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 1

The Tides offense exploded for five runs in both the 8th and 9th innings Tuesday, turning a close contest into a blowout win over the Stripers. Joey Ortiz opened the scoring in the 4th inning when he stole third and then came home to score on a throwing error by the Gwinnett catcher. Norfolk doubled its lead in the 5th when catcher Maverick Handley launched a solo HR to left center.

That was far from the end of the fireworks, though, as the Tides offense really ignited in the 8th inning. After both Kyle Stowers and Oritz walked with one out, Coby Mayo launched his first Triple-A homer, a moonshot to left field that gave Norfolk a 5-1 lead. Not to be outdone by his fellow corner infielder, Josh Lester sent a two-run homer to center three batters later.

The offense then turned to a little small ball in the 9th inning to balloon the lead even further. After starting the inning with singles from Heston Kjerstad and Ortiz, the Tides strung together five consecutive two-out singles to score five runs and effectively close out the game. After putting up a relatively quiet 2-11 in his first three games at Norfolk, Mayo starred Tuesday as he finished the game 2-4 with the HR and four RBIs. And although the offensive outburst defined the win, the Tides also got a strong outing from started Drew Rom, who went five innings, allowing only two hits and no runs, while striking out seven.

Box Score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 3, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 0

The Bowie pitching staff was nearly unhittable Tuesday night as it completely shut down a potent Harrisburg lineup. Starter Connor Gillispie will steal the headlines after going six innings, allowing only one hit, one walk and striking out five. After walking a batter with two outs in the 1st, GIllispie proceeded to set down the six in a row before hitting a batter with two outs in the 3rd. The former 9th-round pick then set down another five in a row, before giving up his first hit on a single in the top of the 5th. Gillispie closed out the 5th with back to back strikeouts. All in all, Gillispie allowed three base runners, but never allowed any of them to advance past first base.

Relievers Nolan Hoffman and Nick Richmond then picked up right where Gillispie left off as the bullpen took over in the 7th. Hoffman allowed two more runners to reach, one on a walk another on a HBP, but didn’t give up any hits and stranded runners at second in both the 7th and 8th.

RIchmond gave up Harrisburg’s second hit in the 9th and was staring down a two-on, one-out jam as he tried to close out the game. He then proceeded to strike out Nationals No. 2 prospect Brady House and get their No. 5 prospect Robert Hassell to fly out to center to seal the win.

Offensively, 2022 draft picks Jackson Holliday and Jud Fabian led the way for Bowie. Fabian got the scoring started with a solo HR in the bottom of the 1st, his 14th HR of the season. Holliday then sparked a rally in the 5th, as his double gave the Baysox two runners in scoring position and both later came around to score. The Orioles No. 1 prospect finished the day 2-4 with a run scored and is so far hitting .500 with a 1.181 OPS in four games at Bowie.

Box Score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) 3

Aberdeen got a clutch home run from Dylan Beavers in the 7th inning to seal their win in a back-and-forth game with Bowling Green. The IronBirds fell behind early, as starter Kyle Virbitsky gave up back-to-back hits to start the top of the 3rd, allowed one run to score on his own fielding error, and then gave up a sac fly to give the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.

The IronBirds fought back and took a lead of their own with a three-run 5th inning. First baseman Isaac Bellony led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to third on a Luis Valdez single and a Bowling Green throwing error. Back-to-back sac flies from left fielder Ryan Higgins and Beavers—sandwiched around a Valdez steal of third—gave the Ironbirds their first two runs of the game. Catcher Silas Ardoin then walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by third baseman Frederick Bencosme, giving Aberdeen a 3-2 lead.

That lead would be short lived, however, as the Hot Rods hit a lead off double in the 6th and then used a productive groundout and another sac fly to tie the game at three. That set up the triumphant moment for Beavers in the bottom of the 7th. The former first-round pick rocketed a 1-2 pitch left over the plate over the fence in right-center to give the IronBirds a lead they did not relinquish. The homer was Beavers’ ninth of the season, and third this month, as he continues a hot July. In 10 games this month, the 21-year-old is slashing .343/.442/.800.

Box Score

Low-A: Charleston RiverDogs 9, Delmarva Shorebirds 5

The Shorebirds were the only affiliate to lose on Tuesday, as they got into a big hole early and couldn’t quite climb their way out of it. The RiverDogs and Shorebirds traded solo HRs in the first two innings to leave the game tied at 1-1 after two. Charleston then added two more runs across the 3rd and 4th innings, the first one coming via a bases loaded walk and the second via two doubles in the top of the 4th.

Things didn’t really unravel for Delmarva until the 5th inning, however. After Charleston put two on base with a throwing error and a single, first baseman Xavier Isaac promptly cleared the bases with a three-run HR to right. The RiverDogs then tacked on another pair of runs—one after a throwing error on a stolen base attempt allowed one run to score, and another on an RBI double. All in all, Charleston put together a five-run 5th to give then an 8-1 lead.

Delmarva got two runs back in the 7th inning, as Charleston walked the bases loaded with two outs. What followed was a minor comedy of errors, as the RiverDogs issued their fourth consecutive walk to force in a run—and a wild pitch on ball four allowed another run to score. Charleston got one run back in the top of the 8th, before catcher Samuel Basallo gave Delmarva a consolation prize with a two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th. The homer was the 12th of the season for Delmarva’s highest ranked prospect, and his third in July.

Box Score

Wednesday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk Tides at Gwinnett Stripers, 12:05pm ET. Justin Armbruester vs. Jared Shuster
  • Bowie Baysox vs. Harrisburg Senators, 6:35pm ET. TBD vs. Dustin Saenz
  • Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods, 7:05pm ET. Juan Nuñez vs. TBD
  • Delmarva Shorebirds vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05pm ET. Luis De León vs. Alex Ayala Jr.