Triple-A: Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 2, Norfolk Tides 1 — Game 1
In a makeup of Friday’s rainout, a couple of left-handed starters with ample big league experience — Bruce Zimmermann for the Tides and Nick Margevicius for the Stripers — made effective starts, each going five innings and giving up one run (Zimmermann’s was unearned due to a Joey Ortiz error that plated a runner from second). The Tides managed five hits, but none were from the big prospects; Ortiz, Coby Mayo, and Heston Kjerstad were each 0-for-3. Daz Cameron drove in Norfolk’s lone run with a second-inning sac fly.
Gwinnett won on a walkoff homer in the seventh (remember, doubleheader games are still seven innings in the minors), with Luke Williams going yard against erstwhile O’s reliever Joey Krehbiel. Former Orioles Jesús Aguilar and Yolmer Sánchez were in the Gwinnett lineup and each doubled.
Norfolk Tides 6, Gwinnett Stripers 3 — Game 2
The Tides earned a split of the twin bill with a power display in the nightcap. Norfolk had only four hits, but three of them were home runs: Ortiz and Kyle Stowers each bashed solo shots in the second, and Ryan McKenna iced the game with a fifth-inning grand slam. Stowers also doubled. Mayo had another rough game, striking out in all three at-bats, while Connor Norby and César Prieto each went 0-for-2 with a walk.
Chayce McDermott’s first start at Triple-A showed off the best and worst of the 24-year-old right-hander. On the plus side, he racked up nine strikeouts and allowed just one hit in five innings. That’s great...until you notice that he had six (6!) walks and a wild pitch. At least he split up the walks so that he only had one each inning except for the fourth, allowing him to escape with just two runs of damage.
Double-A: Bowie Baysox 8, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 5
The Baysox fell behind early before scoring in five of their final six innings. Their well-balanced, 15-hit attack included at least one hit from each of the first eight batters in the lineup. None was more prominent than baseball’s #1 prospect, Jackson Holliday, who crushed his first home run at the Double-A level and also doubled.
What a time for Jackson Holliday to hit Double-A home run number one! pic.twitter.com/UX7YzxoINr— Bowie Baysox (@BowieBaysox) July 23, 2023
Outfield prospect John Rhodes also starred with a 3-for-4 performance, including his ninth home run and 17th double. Third baseman Greg Cullen had three hits and outfielder Billy Cook doubled and tripled.
On the mound, lefty prospect Cade Povich was just OK, giving up three runs in five innings. He uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. The stacked Harrisburg roster includes three of the Nationals’ top five prospects: James Wood, Brady House, and Robert Hassell III. House and Hassell had two hits apiece in this game, while Wood did not play.
High-A: Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) 3, Aberdeen IronBirds 1
It was a night of missed opportunities for the IronBirds, who turned 11 hits and three walks into just one run, going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranding 12 men on base. Their only run came on a fourth-inning wild pitch. Shortstop Frederick Bencosme, the only top-30 O’s prospect in the Aberdeen lineup, led the team with three hits.
Starter Cooper Chandler allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits, giving up a homer to former first-round pick Nick Schnell. Three Aberdeen relievers combined for three hitless, scoreless innings after that, though they walked five. The loss snapped the IronBirds’ four-game win streak.
Low-A: Charleston RiverDogs (Rays) 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 2 — Game 1
Delmarva took a 2-0 lead into the late innings, but the RiverDogs scored twice in the sixth and twice more in the seventh for the comeback win. Xavier Isaac, the Rays’ #9 prospect on MLB Pipeline, tied the score with his two-run homer off right-hander Zack Showalter in the sixth, and Delmarva righty Brayner Sánchez gave up back-to-back RBI singles in the final frame. They were working in relief of Brandon Young, rehabbing from Bowie, who worked three scoreless innings and struck out two.
Another Young, Carter Young, went 2-for-4 as the designated hitter, and leadoff man Stiven Acevedo powered his fifth home run as part of a two-hit day. Samuel Basallo was 1-for-3.
Charleston RiverDogs 5, Delmarva Shorebirds 3 — Game 2
Charleston completed the doubleheader sweep of the Shorebirds with another last at-bat victory in the nightcap, plating three runs in “extra” innings (which was actually the eighth) to break a two-all tie. Three consecutive RBI singles off righty reliever Eris Rodriguez did the damage. Before that, though, Delmarva starter Edgar Portes tossed four shutout innings.
The bigger concern for the Shorebirds is the health status of Basallo, the best prospect at Delmarva, who limped off the field after a first-inning popout. Let’s hope he won’t be sidelined for long. Without him, the Shorebirds managed only four hits, two by leadoff hitter Angel Tejada. Center fielder Trendon Craig showed off his wheels, stealing three bases to bring his season total to 17.
Sunday’s scheduled games:
- Norfolk: at Gwinnett, 1:05 PM. Starter: Drew Rom (7-5, 5.14)
- Bowie: vs. Harrisburg, 1:05 PM. Starter: TBD
- Aberdeen: vs. Bowling Green, 2:05 PM. Starter: Kyle Virbitsky (2-1, 4.62)
- Delmarva: vs. Charleston, 5:05 PM. Starter: Deivy Cruz (7-1, 3.82)