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Today's game previews -- May 18

The Triple-A Norfolk Tides play a doubleheader against the Louisville Bats. The first game is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., and both contests are scheduled for seven innings.

The Single-A Frederick Keys return to Harry Grove Stadium to face the Lynchburg Hillcats, and the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds play on the road against the Hickory Crawdads.

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The Double-A Bowie Baysox are idle.

Norfolk Tides (AAA)

Opponent

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Doubleheader vs. Louisville Bats (6:15 p.m.)

Game 1: Probable pitchers

Norfolk: Chris Tillman (4-0, 2.03 ERA)

Louisville: Sam LeCure (2-2, 4.19 ERA)

Game 2: Probable pitchers

Norfolk: David Pauley (2-3, 4.68 ERA)

Louisville: Homer Bailey (3-4, 4.81 ERA)

Notes

* Tillman has earned a win in each of his past four starts for the Tides. The 21-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed an earned run in three of his seven starts this season. Tillman gave up five hits in six scoreless innings against the Syracuse Chiefs in his last start on May 12. He struck out 10 batters and issued two walks in Norfolk's 9-1 victory.

* LeCure allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Durham Bulls in his last start on May 12. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out three batters and issued two walks. LeCure pitched much better against the Rochester Red Wings on May 7. He collected eight strikeouts and gave up five hits in seven scoreless innings.

* In his last start, Pauley gave up three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings against Syracuse on May 13. The 25-year-old right-hander collected one strikeout, but he didn't factor in the decision in Norfolk's 5-3 win over the Chiefs. Opponents are batting .310 against Pauley in six starts this season.

* It has been an up-and-down start to the 2009 season for Bailey, who was a former top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds' minor league system. The 23-year-old right-hander lost his first two starts, but then he rebounded to win his next three games. Now, he is working on back-to-back losses again. Bailey gave up four runs and six hits in six innings against Durham on May 13.

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* After winning five consecutive games, the Tides maintain a two-game lead in the International League South Division with a 23-12 record. Durham (22-15) is in second place in the division. Louisville (18-18) is leading the West Division by one game over the Columbus Clippers (18-20) and Indianapolis Indians (17-19).Frederick Keys (A)

Opponent

Lynchburg Hillcats (7 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Frederick: Nathan Nery (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

Lynchburg: Justin Wilson (2-3, 5.86 ERA)

Notes

* Despite only allowing one unearned run and five hits in six innings, Nery suffered the loss against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in his last start on May 13. The 23-year-old left-hander struck out six batters and issued one walk in the Keys' 2-1 loss. Nery was 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five games (four starts) for the Shorebirds before being promoted to Frederick.

* Wilson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 after leading Fresno State to the national championship in the College World Series. The 21-year-old left-hander signed too late to play professional baseball last season. He earned the win after allowing three hits in five scoreless innings against the Keys on April 21.

* Frederick (17-19) has won three straight games, bringing the Keys into a tie for third place in the Carolina League Northern Division with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Both teams trail first-place Lynchburg (23-13) by six games in the division.

Delmarva Shorebirds (A)

Opponent

at Hickory Crawdads (7 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Delmarva: Ryan O'Shea (2-2, 4.65 ERA)

Hickory: Joseph Wieland (5-1, 1.44 ERA with rookie-level AZL Rangers in 2008)

Notes

* O'Shea was roughed up by the Greensboro Grasshoppers in his last start on May 12. The 22-year-old left-hander suffered the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. O'Shea also struggled against the Grasshoppers on April 30 -- allowing six runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings -- but he has pitched well in his other four starts this season.

* Wieland will make his first start for the Crawdads after being added to the roster from extended spring training. The 19-year-old right-hander was 5-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 13 games (seven starts) for the rookie-level AZL Rangers in the Arizona League last season. Wieland collected 41 strikeouts and walked eight batters in 43 2/3 innings in 2008.

* With six consecutive losses, the Shorebirds (17-16) dropped to third place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. Delmarva is tied with the Hagerstown Suns, and both teams trail the division-leading Lakewood BlueClaws (20-15) by two games. Hickory is tied for fifth place in the division with the Kannapolis Intimidators. Both teams are 2 1/2 games behind the BlueClaws with an 18-18 record.

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