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Orioles minor league recap 9/25: Norfolk drops season finale; next up, the postseason

The Tides lost yesterday but still captured the best record in the International League

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
One more big game from Coby Mayo
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Triple-A: Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 11, Norfolk Tides 6

The Tides’ pitching staff couldn’t hold a big lead in the 2023 regular-season finale. They led 6-3 going into the bottom of the sixth before Morgan McSweeney and Ryan Watson combined to give up eight runs in two innings. The offense was unable to come back after the meltdown.

Norfolk jumped out to a 2-0 lead on back-to-back bases-loaded walks from Jackson Holliday and Connor Norby. They added a solo run in the third when Coby Mayo, who had walked, scored on a single by Shayne Fontana. Another single run scored in the fourth as Coby Mayo doubled in Holliday, who had once again walked.

The team’s final two runs scored in the sixth inning when Mayo walked and scored on a single from Fontana yet again, and another on an RBI single from Joseph Rosa.

Holliday reached base three times in the game with a single and two walks. Mayo walked a whopping three times to go with his 15th Triple-A double (45th overall!). Kyle Stowers singled and walked in five plate appearances while Connor Norby was hitless. Colton Cowser did not start the game but went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter.

Justin Armbruester started the game but was pulled after just 1.1 innings pitched, having given up three runs on two hits and three walks. Kyle Dowdy pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief before the game imploded in the sixth and seventh innings.

Yesterday was the final game of the regular season for the Tides, a season in which they finished with a league-best 90-59 record. Top prospects both graduated from Norfolk to Baltimore and ascended from lower levels to Norfolk where they found success. They were the most dominant minor league team in the Orioles organization that I can remember seeing.

After a day off Monday, the Tides will host the Durham Bulls (TBR) for a best-of-three series to crown the International League champions.