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Orioles minor league recap 9/4: Jackson Holliday is headed to Norfolk

Heston Kjerstad and Josh Lester homered for Norfolk on Sunday, and it’s exciting to think what the Tides offense will look like now with reinforcements.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Jackson Holliday is turning out to be every bit as good as the Orioles scouts could have hoped.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

First, the headline news: 19-year-old Jackson Holliday is being called up to Triple-A Norfolk. That’s nuts: it took Holliday just 107 games to blaze through Single-A, High-A and Double-A. (That’s about 110 games faster than fellow wunderkind Manny Machado managed in 2010-12, if you’re wondering.) Across those three levels, Holliday owns a .333/.451/.517 slash line. Could he see the majors this year? If this pattern continues. . .

Triple-A: Worcester Red Sox 5, Norfolk Tides 4

The Tides continued their heavy-hitting ways even in a loss. Heston Kjerstad hit a two-run home run in the first inning to get his team on the board first. Starter Cade Povich allowed the two runs back immediately, but after that he managed to go a full five innings with just one more run allowed. A scoreless sixth was pitched by Morgan McSweeney, but with his team down 3-2, Nick Vespi allowed a two-run home run to Worcester’s David Hamilton, which proved the margin of victory.

The Tides mounted a late comeback, but it fell just short. Josh Lester closed the gap to 5-3 with an eighth-inning homer, and Connor Norby scored a fourth run in the ninth. But despite having runners on first and third and no outs, Norfolk couldn’t score any more: Coby Mayo popped out and Daz Cameron was called out on strikes.

All Tides hitters had one hit or better, though, with Kjerstad the clear standout with a 3-for-5 day including the two-run home run.

Box Score

Double-A: Akron RubberDucks (CLE) 6, Bowie Baysox 3

Some more bullpen trouble in this one: Bowie led 3-1 after seven and a half innings but Dan Hammer and Nick Richmond, combined, allowed a grand slam plus one more run in the eighth inning. Before that, Carlos Tavera, Ryan Long and Conner Loeprich had combined for seven one-run innings.

The Baysox scored three runs total. The first came in when Donta’ Williams walked, stole second and scored on a Maxwell Costes single (Costes was 2-for-4 on Sunday). Jackson Holliday scored the second run, singling, taking second on a Jud Fabian walk, and coming home when John Rhodes singled. In the eighth, Holliday got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double but Bowie still scored on a Jud Fabian/John Rhodes single and double.

Dylan Beavers went 0-for-4, Jud Fabian was 1-for-3 and John Rhodes went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Holliday finished 3-for-4 to end his Double-A tenure with a .338 BA and .928 OPS in 36 games. Whew, that was fast.

Box Score

High-A: Jersey Shore BlueClaws 7, Aberdeen IronBirds 6

One more bullpen collapse on a late opponent home run, as the IronBirds’ Graham Firoved blew a 6-3 lead headed into the bottom of the ninth. Firoved loaded the bases and allowed four runs to score on a groundout and a three-run home run by Jersey Shore’s Félix Reyes.

Aberdeen scored in the first, and then a run or more in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. Samuel Basallo continues to distinguish himself at this level, going 2-for-3 on Sunday with a two-run home run and two walks. Frederick Bencosme went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. Left fielder Ryan Higgins went 2-for-4. and 2B Erison Placencia slugged a home run, too.

The 2023 eighth-rounder Cameron Weston allowed one run in one inning, and Cooper Chandler gave up one more in three innings. Logan Rinehart pushed his scoreless streak with Aberdeen to 15.1 innings.

Box Score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 5, Columbia Fireflies (KC) 4 - F/10

Raúl Rangel got a win with five sterling innings of relief. The Fireflies jumped out to a 4-0 lead against starter Juan Rojas, but Rangel kept them off the board for the rest of regular play.

Delmarva tied it up with four runs in regular play, and Enrique Bradfield Jr. was pivotal for most of it. He and Mac Horvath walked to set lead off the fifth. Tavian Josenberger singled home Bradfield, Matt Etzel got a second run in on a fielder’s choice, and a third Delmarva run came home on a Stiven Acevedo fielder’s choice. The game was tied, 4-4, when Bradfield Jr. scored Randy Florentino with a sac fly.

In the tenth, Florentino drove home ghost runner TT Bowens, and Towson native Zane Barnhart got his first save with a scoreless tenth.

Box score

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Norfolk vs. Jacksonville, 5:35. Starter: TBD
  • Bowie vs. New Hampshire, 5:35. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen vs. Greenville, 6:05. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva vs. Fredericksburg, 6:05. Starter: TBD