Four games into the 2014 season and the Aberdeen IronBirds are still looking for their first victory. The latest loss was Monday night, 2-1, in 15 innings at Hudson Valley.
The IronBirds, the New York-Penn League's reigning McNamara Division champs, kicked off their new campaign Friday with a 2-1 loss. Then on Saturday dropped the second of four games at Hudson Valley, 4-3. Sunday's loss was 4-2. Monday's extra-inning loss capped Aberdeen's four-game series with Hudson Valley. For their next three games, the IronBirds will play at Staten Island, then return home for their home-opener, a 7:35 p.m. game with Brooklyn.
Monday's marathon at Hudson Valley was scoreless until the top of the eighth, when Andrickson Zorrilla led off with a single. After moving to third on an infield error, Zorrilla scored on Jay Gonzalez's groundout to second.
With Aberdeen reliever Nik Nowottnick on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, Hudson Valley tied the game. The game was knotted until the bottom of the 15th when Hudson Valley tagged reliever Dioni Dominguez (0-1) for the game-winning run on a single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a wild pitch.
Aberdeen starter Augey Bill struck out four, walked one and scattered six hits in a no-decision.
Brady Adamek threw 1-1/3 inning of relief, allowing two hits, striking out one and walking one. Derrick Bleeker twirled one perfect inning out of the IronBirds' bullpen, while Alex Santana allowed one hit in one inning of work. Over two innings, Nowottnick allowed three hits. Eric Green worked three innings in relief for Aberdeen, striking out six, walking two and holding the hosts hitless.
Hector Veloz, the only IronBird with multiple hits, went 2-for-4 with two singles. Stephen Wilkerson was 1-for-5 with a double, Aberdeen's lone extra-base hit.
The IronBirds went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position, and left 10 stranded.
Bundy returns to mound
Dylan Bundy, the Baltimore Orioles' first-round pick of the 2011 draft, who was sidelines for a year following Tommy John surgery, made his return to the mound Sunday. Bundy started for Aberdeen at Hudson Valley, holding the Renegades to one run over five innings, but got the loss as the IronBirds mustered just four hits in a 4-2 defeat.
Bundy (0-1), who pitched in two games with the Orioles in 2012 after being selected fourth overall in the 2011 draft, struck out six, did not allow a walk and surrendered a single earned run on five hits. Prior to the game, the 21-year-old righty said he had been told by club officials how long he would be allowed to stay on the mound in Saturday's game, and how long he would be rehabbing with the IronBirds.
"It's going to be four innings, or 75 pitches, whichever comes first," Bundy said at a press conference in Aberdeen. "I'm going to make either three or four starts [with Aberdeen]."
Aberdeen skipper Matt Merullo said Bundy's next start would come at Ripken Stadium.
"After the Sunday game with Hudson Valley, we're going to have Dylan pitch again when we get back home, on Saturday [June, 21]," Merullo said.
Sunday's loss was the third straight for Aberdeen (0-3), which has one more game with Hudson Valley on Monday before moving on to play a three-game set at Staten Island. The IronBirds' home-opener will be at 7:35 p.m. Friday against the Brooklyn Cyclones.
After Bundy's departure, Aberdeen reliever Stefan Crichton came on in the sixth and surrendered three earned runs, allowing the hosts to take a 4-0 advantage. Over two innings, Crichton struck out two, walked one and allowed four hits.
Ivan Hernandez tossed one inning of relief for Aberdeen, striking out all three hitters he faced.
Both of Aberdeen's runs came in the top of the ninth. Elias Torres put the IronBirds on the board, scoring from third on Jonah Heim's sacrifice fly, and Manny Hernandez made it home on a wild pitch for the visitors' final tally. Aberdeen's Sam Kimmel struck out to end the game with the tying run at first base.
Alex Mercedes, the lone IronBird with multiple hits, went 2-for-4 with a double.
Topped in extras
For the second straight night on the road to open the season, the Aberdeen IronBirds were beaten by Hudson Valley on a walk-off hit as the Renegades scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th to win, 4-3.
Aberdeen starter Stephen Tarpley blanked the Renegades in the first, then surrendered one run in each of the following three innings.
Tarpley exited after the fourth with four strikeouts, two walks and having allowed three earned runs on six hits.
The IronBirds briefly cut Hudson Valley's lead in half in the top of the fourth when Alex Murphy, who led off with a double, scored on a passed ball after moving to third on Hector Veloz's base hit.
Trailing, 3-1, after Hudson Valley hit a solo homer off Tarpley in the bottom of the fourth, the IronBirds jumped back to within one again in the seventh when Ronarsey Ledesma hit a two-out, solo round-tripper.
Down to their last three outs in the top of the ninth, Veloz lead off with a double for the IronBirds. One out later, Ledesma evened the score, 3-3, with an RBI single. Hudson Valley recorded the final out before Aberdeen could score the go-ahead run.
The game moved to extra innings after IronBirds reliever Garrett Cortright retired the Renegades in order in the bottom of the ninth. Cortright followed with another perfect inning in the 10th.
In the 11th, Hudson Valley got to Cortright for a leadoff single. After the runner moved to second on a sacrifice groundout, Hudson Valley's Coty Blanchard delivered a game-winning, RBI single to right.
IronBirds reliever Daniel Delgado tossed three shutout innings, holding the Renegades to three hits, striking out six and allowing one walk. Cortright (0-1) went 3-2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits, striking out two and walking one.
Topped in the ninth
Aberdeen, back to the baseball grind after making it to the playoffs for the first time in club history last season, started the 2014 campaign with a tough loss Friday night as host Hudson Valley had a two-run, walk-off homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the IronBirds, 2-1.
Aberdeen starter Janser Severino, who pitched with the IronBirds last season, came through with a fine performance, going six full innings, striking out nine, walking one and holding the Renegades to three hits in a no decision.
IronBirds reliever Derrick Bleeker held the shutout through the seventh and eighth, striking out three, walking one and allowing one hit over two innings.
Aberdeen, scoreless through the first seven, got some offense with a two-out, solo homer from first baseman Hector Veloz in the top of the eighth. That was it as the Aberdeen lineup went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.
Three outs from victory in the bottom of the ninth, Aberdeen sent reliever Nik Nowottnick to close out the game. After striking out the first batter, Nowottnick surrendered a single, then got the second out on a fly ball to center. Hudson Valley's final hitter of the night, Hunter Lockwood, sent one over the fence in left center for a game-winning, two-run shot.
Aberdeen's Oswill Lartiguez was 3-for-4, while Sam Kimmel went 2-for-4 with a triple in the loss. Jay Gonzalez was 2-for-5.