Fresh off their 13-inning walk-off win at home Tuesday, the Aberdeen IronBirds needed another extra inning for a win Wednesday night in West Virginia.
The 'Birds scored seven runs over the final three innings, highlighted by four in the top of the 10th, in an 8-4 win over the Black Bears.
The win, the seventh over the last eight games, improves Aberdeen to 13-12 and in a three-way tie with Brooklyn and Hudson Valley atop the New York-Penn League’s McNamara Division.
Aberdeen and West Virginia are to play game two tonight with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m.
In Wednesday’s win, Aberdeen was down 4-1 in the eighth. Tristan Graham’s two-run, home run ignited the IronBirds late game rally.
Down 4-3 in the ninth, Clay Fisher walked, stole second and later scored on Toby Welk’s (2-5) sacrifice fly to tie the game 4-4.
It was all Aberdeen in the 10th. With Zach Watson starting the inning on second base (per Minor League Baseball extra-inning rules), Graham (2-5) reached on an infield single and both were driven in on Ian Evans’ bases-clearing triple.
Maverick Handley doubled Evans (2-5) in with third run and Joey Ortiz drove in Handley with the final run with a single.
Graham, Welk and Evans all drove in two runs each.
Kyle Martin (one hit, two walks, two strikeouts) pitched two innings for the win. Shelton Perkins set the side down in order in the 10th, striking out two.
The IronBirds will be back in Aberdeen Saturday to begin a six-game homestand. Williamsport will be at the stadium for three, followed by a league-wide off day Tuesday. Connecticut comes in Wednesday for a double header. Game one, a continuation from July 2′s rain halted game.
The ‘Birds are down, 3-1, through two full innings. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. with Wednesday night’s regular scheduled game, starting 30 minutes at the conclusion of game one.
The series will conclude with games Thursday and next Friday.
Stowers come through
It took 13 innings and a pinch-hit double, but the Aberdeen IronBirds walked-off with a 7-6 win over the Lowell Spinners Tuesday afternoon at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The win gave the 'Birds a series win and pulled them back to .500 at 12-12, while Lowell (17-6) came in to town the hottest team in the New York-Penn League.
“That was crazy, super pleasing to say the least and we were out of pitching,” IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw said. “I got to take my hat off for the boys, they just kept fighting and fighting and there were some good plays made and there were some bad plays at times, but we finally pulled one out and that was big for our confidence.”
In the bottom of the 13th, down 6-5, the IronBirds went to work. They had matched the Spinners run-for-run in the 10th (1-1), 11th (1-1) and 12th (2-2) innings to have the chance in the 13th.
Per Minor League Baseball rules, all extra innings begin with a runner at second base; the last batter of the previous inning when final out was recorded.
So, with Watson at second, Austin Hays stepped in, only to be drilled with a fastball to the shoulder. Luke Ringhofer then sacrificed both runners up a base and Welk (3-5), up 3-0 in the count, drew an intentional walk to load the bases with one out.
Andrew Fregia, who hit the ball hard and deep three times Tuesday, went down on strikes for the second out.
On comes Kyle Stowers to pinch hit. Stowers smacked the first pitch he saw from Spinners pitcher Jose Larez, deep to right field. Spinners fielder Juan Carlos Abreu appeared to have a bead on it, but the ball sailed just out of his reach and the celebration was on.
Watson jogged home from third and Hays raced home with the winning run and the team chased after Stowers.
“It makes you feel like, because you didn’t play the whole game, it makes it feel like a good day,” Stowers said of his heroics. “When you come in and pinch hit, kind of nothing to lose, but the same time how your at-bat goes, kind of how you feel like your day went. They’re definitely tough situations, I know it sounds cheesy, but I got a god pitch to hit and just didn’t miss it. It definitely feels good to get out with a win after a long game.”
The 'Birds had stayed alive with clutch hits in the previous three innings. In the 12th, Fregia scored on a wild pitch and Juan Montes scored on Watson’s two-out, RBI single. Dalton Hoiles tried to score the winning run, but he was called out at the plate.
In the 11th, Welk’s two-out, RBI single scored Watson and in the 10th, Hoiles scored as Fisher grounded into an 6-4-3 double play.
Aberdeen had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on an Lenin Rodriguez (2-4) two-out, RBI single, but the Spinners tied the game in the fifth on Nick Northcut’s solo home run.
That was the only hit Aberdeen starter Leonardo Rodriguez allowed over five innings of solid pitching. Rodriguez fanned eight and he set down the first 13 batters he faced.
Bradshaw praised the effort. “It was outstanding and we had a rehab [Brian Gonzalez] guy that was supposed to go three innings today and that’s the only reason he came out of the game,” Bradshaw said.
Gonzalez worked two innings, both scoreless. He allowed two hits, including a leadoff triple, and a walk, while striking out four.
James Ryan pitched three innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run. He struck out three.