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The Aegis
Harford County

Aberdeen blanked at home 1-0 by Tri-City Monday

The Aberdeen IronBirds pitching staff turned in a fine performance at Ripken Stadium Monday night as three hurlers combined to hold visiting Tri-City to a paltry five hits and one run. The visiting team's arms were better, limiting the IronBirds to three hits in a 1-0 Aberdeen loss.

Through Monday's defeat, Aberdeen was still in the cellar of the New York-Penn League's four-team McNamara Division, seven games behind Brooklyn, eight games in back of Staten Island and trailing first-place Hudson Valley by a distant 16.5 games.

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Monday's matchup was a near replay of the 2013 New York-Penn League first-round playoff contest, when Aberdeen, playing in its first postseason game after clinching the McNamara Division lost, 1-0, to Tri-City despite holding the ValleyCats to seven hits.

Aberdeen manager Matt Merullo talked about that matchup prior to his team's 1-0 Monday loss.

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"We figured out in the playoffs last year that Tri-City has some very, very good pitching," Merullo said. "Our pitchers were throwing really well, too, but they still shut us down two games in a row. The teams are different this year, but we definitely remember that. It was a tough way to end the season."

Stephen Tarpley (1-2), the Orioles' third-round pick in the 2013 MLB draft, made the start Monday and turned in one of his best performance of the season, going 6-1/3 innings in which he allowed just one earned run on four hits, struck out four and walked three. Unfortunately, the 21-year-old lefty was saddled with the loss, as he allowed the game's lone run.

The IronBird lineup, however, was another story, as it failed to put a single runner in scoring position.

"It's hard to win when you don't score or get anyone in [scoring position]," Merullo said. "If there's anything that comes and goes, it's hitting. You just have to try and make the most out of what you have to work with that night. You just have to tip your hat. They shut us down."

After Tarpley left with one out in the seventh, Max Schuh took over for the next inning, allowing one hit, striking out one and issuing a pair of walks.

Matt Towbridge came out of the bullpen in the eighth and closed out the game for Aberdeen, racking up three strikeouts, walking one and holding Tri-City hitless over 1-2/3 innings.

The game was a scoreless tie until the top of the seventh, when Tri-City began with a single to center off of Tarpley. Tarpley struck out the next hitter, then issued a walk before being removed. Schuh retired the first hitter he faced, but then issued back-to-back walks to drive home what would be the game-winning run. Since Tarpley allowed the leadoff single, he was charged with the earned run.

Aberdeen's Austin Anderson accounted for two of his team's three hits, roping out singles in the fourth and seventh, but he was left at first both times. Riley Palmer went 1-for-1 and earned a pair of walks, while Stephen Wilkerson and Justin Veile both had one walk.

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Aberdeen hitters struck out 11 times, with Palmer being the only person in the lineup not taking a strikeout in the loss.

Sunday win

With a 7-5 victory over Tri-City at Ripken Stadium on Sunday, the IronBirds managed to rebound from a tough, shutout loss the previous evening.

The two teams combined for 23 hits, with Aberdeen slugging out 12 and the visitors posting 11.

Trailing, 2-1, after the visiting half of the fourth, Aberdeen took the lead for good in the bottom part of the inning with a three-run rally. After the visitors scored once in the fifth, the IronBirds answered with two more in the sixth and a final tally in the seventh. Tri-City cut the Aberdeen lead down to 7-5 in the top of the ninth, but closer Ivan Hernandez, who earned the save, was able to retire the final two outs of the game with the tying run at second base.

Riley Palmer went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, three RBIs and two runs in his best offensive showing of the season so far.

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"I was seeing the ball well from the first at-bat," Palmer said. "I [was] seeing the ball, letting the pitch count get deep. I knew going up there after the first at-bat that I had the advantage."

Jamil Moquete was 2-for-4 with a homer, his fifth if the season, and two runs scored. Stephen Wilkerson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Oswill Lartiguez, Hector Veloz and Justin Veile all scored once.

John Means made the start for Aberdeen, going 3-1/3 innings in which he struck out three, walked one and allowed two earned runs on four hits.

Nik Nowottnick (2-1) picked up the win in relief, holding Tri-City to one earned run on four hits over 1-1/3 innings.

Derrick Bleeker went 2-1/3 innings and retired all seven hitter he faced without recording a strikeout.

Josh Walker tossed 1-1/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing two runs (one earned) before being pulled with one out in the ninth.

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Hernandez got the final two outs on a groundout and a pop fly.

'Birds blanked

Despite outhitting the Connecticut Tigers, 6-5, on Saturday night at Ripken Stadium, the Aberdeen IronBirds couldn't muster a run and lost, 2-0.

The loss drops Aberdeen to 13-28 on the season.

Aberdeen starter David Hess tossed four shutout innings, striking out five without a walk and holding the guests to a pair of hits.

Reliever Luc Rennie came on in the fifth and picked up where Hess left off, holding Connecticut scoreless through the next four innings. In the top of the ninth, however, the visitors worked Rennie for a leadoff walk and a home run.

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Through five innings, Rennie (0-1) struck out five and allowed only that ninth-inning walk.

The IronBirds nearly took a lead in the fourth, when Riley Palmer had a two-out single and moved to second on a walk by Oswill Lartiguez. Justin Viele rapped a single to right, sending Palmer sprinting for home, but the visiting right fielder's throw beat him to the plate for the final out.

Alex Murphy, the only IronBird with multiple hits, went 2-for-4 with a double.

10-inning win

After having a one-run lead evaporate in the ninth against visiting Connecticut Friday night, the IronBirds settled things in the 10th with a walk-off run and a 2-1 win.

With the score tied in the 10th, Aberdeen's Jay Gonzalez led off with a triple to deep center field. After a pitching change, Riley Palmer singled up the middle to end the game..

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Trailing, 1-0, in what would have been its last at bat, Connecticut got to reliever Nigel Nootbaar for the tying run on a walk and three straight singles. With the go-ahead run at third and no outs, Nootbaar struck out the next three.

Aberdeen's Alex Murphy led off the ninth with a double to left, then moved to third on Hector Veloz's sacrifice bunt. Connecticut's reliever opted to intentionally walk Oswill Lartiguez and Jamil Moquete to load the bases, but Aberdeen could not bring the winning run home, as Murphy was caught at home on a fielder's choice and Steve Wilkerson struck out to end the inning.

The game was a scoreless tie until the bottom of the sixth when Gonzalez led off with a single to left. Justin Viele moved his teammate over to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Gonzalez later scored on a throwing error as he tried to steal third.

Nootbaar (2-1) picked up the win, striking out three, walking two and allowing one earned run on four hits over two innings.

Aberdeen starter Bennett Parry went five innings, holding the guests scoreless, striking out two, walking four and allowing two hits.

Stefan Crichton tossed three hitless innings out of the bullpen, striking out one and surrendering one walk.

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Beaten at home

The IronBirds could not hold their early lead against visiting Connecticut Thursday, coughing up a two-run advantage on their way to a 5-2 loss.

In the IronBirds first turn at the plate, leadoff man Oswill Lartiguez opened with a single to center, moved to second on Justin Viele's sacrifice bunt and took third on a groundout by Austin Anderson. Alex Murphy came up next and hit into what looked like a groundout, but the Connecticut shortstop's throw went high, allowing Lartiguez to score.

Aberdeen extended its lead in quick fashion in the bottom of the fourth when Jamil Moquete hammered his fourth home run of the year, a blast over the right field fence.

Connecticut tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the fourth, scoring one earned and one unearned run against Aberdeen starter Tanner Chleborad.

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Chleborad, who took a no decision, left the game after five innings with two strikeouts, no walks and having allowed five hits.

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Matt Trowbridge came on in the sixth and tossed 1-2/3 shutout innings, posting five strikeouts, one walk and one hit.

Aberdeen reliever Matthew Grimes, who tossed a hitless eighth, came out in the ninth and allowed a leadoff single, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt that put the go-ahead run at second.

Ivan Hernandez came out of the bullpen in an attempt to put out the fire, but allowed a single to the first batter he faced, and then a sacrifice fly that allowed Connecticut's leadoff man to tag up and score from third. The next man took one of Hernandez's offerings over the fence in right for a two-run homer, putting the guests up, 5-3.

Aberdeen went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Grimes (1-2) took the loss. He was charged with one earned run on one hit over 1-2/3 innings. Hernandez finished the game with two runs allowed on two hits.

Moquete, the only IronBird with multiple hits, went 2-for-3.


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