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Orioles minor league recap 7/6: Jackson Holliday goes 5-for-5 in Aberdeen slugfest

The IronBirds mashed 20 hits in a high-scoring win, while the Tides racked 18 knocks of their own, led by Heston Kjerstad’s four.

Delmarva Shorebirds v Fredericksburg Nationals
Jackson Holliday can swing a bat with the best of ‘em.
Photo by Rodger Wood/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 8, Durham Bulls (Rays) 3

The departure of Colton Cowser from the Tides’ lineup didn’t slow down their offensive attack, as Norfolk pounded out 18 hits, seven of them for extra bases. Six different Tides batters had multi-hit games, from the leadoff man — Heston Kjerstad, who was 4-for-4 and hit his fifth home run — to the #9 guy, Shayne Fontana, who crushed a pair of dingers himself. Connor Norby went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs; César Prieto doubled and drove in two; and a rehabbing Ryan Mountcastle contributed two hits but struck out thrice.

The run support was more than enough for starter Drew Rom, who held the Bulls to one run and two hits in 5.2 innings. He racked up nine strikeouts, which was nice. He also walked four, which was not so nice. The two teams combined for 23 runners left on base, so there was a lot of traffic on the basepaths all night, but the outcome was never really in doubt.

Box score

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 6, Bowie Baysox 2

The Baysox managed only three hits in this one. Not gonna win many games that way. First baseman TT Bowens had two of those hits, including a double and his sixth home run. Coby Mayo, who entered with four straight multi-hit games, took an uncharacteristic 0-fer, lowering his OPS to a mere 1.054. Jud Fabian was 0-for-4 as well, and is still trying to find his footing at Double-A. He’s batting .186 with a .718 OPS in 14 games with Bowie.

Starting pitcher Chayce McDermott had a forgettable outing, giving up four runs, four walks, and five hits in four innings. Control continues to be a problem for McDermott, who has a 5.8 BB/9 rate and has issued at least one walk in each of his 16 outings.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 16, Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates) 14

Welcome to the most ridiculous game of the night. The IronBirds had 15 hits and five home runs by the fifth inning, along with a seemingly commanding 14-5 lead, only for Greensboro to mount a furious rally and pull within two runs before Aberdeen finally closed things out, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.

Let’s get to the big story: Jackson Holliday went 5-for-5. The top prospect in baseball matched his career high for hits in a game, which he set on May 17, and boosted his slash line at Aberdeen to .310/.449/.483. I think it’s safe to say he’s out of his slump. Holliday accounted for a quarter of the IronBirds’ 20 hits.

Kyle Stowers, on a rehab assignment from Norfolk, did what you’d expect Kyle Stowers to do against High-A pitching: crush some dingers. Two of them, to be precise. Stowers bashed a two-run blast in the first and another in the third, and later added an RBI single. Catcher Creed Willems collected three hits and four RBIs, and Silas Ardoin mashed his third home run in his last two games. Before that, Ardoin hadn’t homered since April 18. Prospects Dylan Beavers and Max Wagner each went yard as well. Aberdeen was a fantastic 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

The hitting was the good news. The pitching, obviously, was not. Starter Cooper Chandler got the win but wasn’t particularly effective, giving up five runs in five innings. Antonio Velez struggled badly in relief, giving up six runs in two innings to inflate his ERA to 6.39. Velez was the most highly touted piece in the Tanner Scott/Cole Sulser trade with the Marlins last year, but has struggled since joining the Orioles’ organization.

Box score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Fredericksburg Nationals 4

Though Delmarva didn’t put up quite the kind of firepower at the plate that Norfolk and Aberdeen did, their offense led the day, with a four-run, seventh-inning rally helping the Shorebirds rally back from a 4-2 deficit. The Nationals helped them out by committing two key errors in that inning and four in the game. Delmarva leadoff man Elio Prado set the table with a 3-for-3 performance, and catcher Samuel Basallo — a newly minted Top 100 prospect! — went 2-for-4. Each was also hit by a pitch.

The two bulk pitchers in this game for the Shorebirds were Bradley Brehmer (4.2 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 6 K) and Deivy Cruz (4 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K). The latter picked up the win with his scoreless effort in relief.

Box score

Thursday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Durham, 6:35 PM. Starter: Justin Armbruester (1-0, 1.69)
  • Bowie: at Richmond, 6:35 PM. Starter: Carlos Tavera (2-4, 5.81)
  • Aberdeen: at Greensboro, 6:30 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Fredericksburg, 7:05 PM. Starter: Edgar Portes (4-2, 3.81)