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Today's game previews -- May 8

The Triple-A Norfolk Tides and Double-A Bowie Baysox hit the road to begin weekend series tonight. Norfolk travels to play the Buffalo Bisons, and the Baysox will face the Erie SeaWolves.

The Single-A Frederick Keys continue their homestand with the Wilmington Blue Rocks coming to Harry Grove Stadium, while the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds conclude their four-game series against the West Virginia Power.

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Norfolk Tides (AAA)

Opponent

at Buffalo Bisons (7:05 p.m.)

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Probable pitchers

Norfolk: Chris Waters (2-2, 6.46 ERA)

Buffalo: Brandon Knight (1-2, 3.96 ERA)

Notes

* In his last start, Waters allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on May 3. Despite the lackluster performance, the 28-year-old left-hander didn't factor in the decision during the Tides' 11-7 loss. Overall, opponents are batting .284 against Waters this season, and he has given up 18 runs (17 earned) and 27 hits in 23 2/3 innings.

* Knight has been one of the bright spots for the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets so far this season. The 33-year-old right-hander earned the victory against the Louisville Bats in his last start after allowing five hits in seven shutout innings. Knight struck out nine batters and didn't issue any walks in the Bisons' 4-1 win.

* With four straight victories -- all against the Columbus Clippers -- the Tides (16-10) surged into first place in the International League South Division. Norfolk holds a 1/2-game lead over the Durham Bulls, who are 16-11. Buffalo is in last place in the six-team North Division with a 5-20 record. The Bisons are 16 games behind division-leading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (22-5).Bowie Baysox (AA)

Opponent

at Erie SeaWolves (6:35 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Bowie: Sean Gleason (0-2, 10.38 ERA)

Erie: Brooks Brown (3-0, 0.73 ERA)

Notes

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* Gleason is still searching for his first victory this season after winning 12 games for the Shorebirds in 2008. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings against the Akron Aeros on May 2. Opponents are batting .367 in three starts against Gleason at the Double-A level since he was promoted from Frederick earlier in the season.

* In his first three starts this season, Brown didn't give up any runs. The 23-year-old right-hander finally allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings against the Altoona Curve on May 1, but he earned his third straight win. Brown has surrendered two runs and 17 hits in 24 2/3 innings for the SeaWolves in 2009.

* The Baysox swept the doubleheader against the Trenton Thunder yesterday, which improved their record to 11-13 this season. Bowie is currently in fourth place in the Eastern League Southern Division, eight games behind the Akron Aeros (19-5). Erie is in third place in the division with a 15-10 record. The SeaWolves trail Akron by 4 1/2 games.

Frederick Keys (A)

Opponent

Wilmington Blue Rocks (7 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Frederick: Brian Matusz (2-1, 3.67 ERA)

Wilmington: Danny Duffy (3-1, 4.21 ERA)

Notes

* After five starts this season, Matusz leads the Keys with 27 innings. The 22-year-old left-hander gave up four runs (three earned) and six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Potomac Nationals on May 1. Matusz struck out six batters in the game, bringing his total to 32 in 2009. He ranks third in the Carolina League in that category, but both pitchers ahead of him have one more start.

* Duffy earned the win against the Winston-Salem Dash in his last start on May 2. The 20-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and four hits in five innings during Wilmington's 10-5 victory. Duffy collected 24 strikeouts and walked nine batters in 25 2/3 innings during his first five starts this season.

* The Keys (10-17) split the doubleheader against Winston-Salem yesterday, but they still need to make up a lot of ground in the Carolina League Northern Division. Frederick remains in last place in the division, trailing the Lynchburg Hillcats and Potomac Nationals -- who both have a 17-10 record -- by seven games. The Blue Rocks are five games behind the division leaders with a 12-15 record.

Delmarva Shorebirds (A)

Opponent

West Virginia Power (7:05 p.m.)

Probable pitchers

Delmarva: Nathan Moreau (1-2, 5.70 ERA with the Aberdeen IronBirds in 2008)

West Virginia: Tyler Cox (0-3, 9.50 ERA)

Notes

* The Shorebirds added Moreau from extended spring training yesterday in order to replace Nathan Nery, who was promoted to Frederick. The Orioles selected Moreau in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB draft, and he pitched for the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds last season. The 22-year-old left-hander was 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 games (seven starts) for the IronBirds. He struck out 48 hitters and only issued nine walks in 36 1/3 innings.

* In his first five games (four starts) this season, Cox hasn't experienced much success. The 23-year-old left-hander allowed six runs and five hits without recording an out against the Lexington Legends in the second game of a doubleheader on April 11. Cox gave up three runs and five hits in five innings against the Hagerstown Suns in his last start on April 30.

* The Shorebirds (14-10) are percentage points ahead of the Lakewood BlueClaws (15-11) in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. West Virginia is in last place in the division with a 7-19 record, eight games behind the leaders.

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