The Aberdeen IronBirds dropped their fourth straight game Monday and were shut out in the process.
The 'Birds (28-22) were blanked 2-0 at Connecticut (23-26) in an New York Penn League game that saw Aberdeen bats limited to five singles.
The IronBirds were to battle the Tigers again Tuesday night and wrap up the series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Aberdeen will be back in town Thursday for another brief, three-game series. Staten Island will pay a visit in an important McNamara Division series.
Ryan Conroy, who has been solid in most starts, had another quality outing Monday, but without some offensive support, he fell to 4-3. Conroy pitched six innings, allowing six hits, one walk and two runs, both earned. He struck out seven and his ERA is a team-best 2.30.
The Connecticut runs came across in the fifth. A leadoff walk, one-out double and two-out single provided the scoring.
Aberdeen relievers Connor Gillispie and Kade Strowd each pitched an inning of scoreless, hitless relief. Gillispie struck out two and Strowd walked two.
Aberdeen, meanwhile, hit ball, striking out collectively just three times, but there were just five hits. Picking up the hits were Shayne Fontana, Adley Rutschman, Toby Welk, Andrew Daschbach and Maverick Handley.
The IronBirds were cooled off in a big way over the weekend, losing all three games to Vermont, who swept the 'Birds at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The Lake Monsters capped the sweep with a 7-5 Sunday. Vermont scored seven runs in each of the three games and 15 were earned against an IronBirds pitching staff that boasted a league-best 2.42 ERA through 48 games.
The Lake Monsters scored 11 runs in the seventh inning or later over the three games.
“Vermont did a good job of, they got some big hits when they needed them, the pitching made some pitches,” IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw said. “We had our opportunities, especially here today, but as a coaching staff we had talked about it. We knew it was going to happen at some point, we were going pretty good. We faced a team in Vermont that was patient at the plate. We’ve been facing some teams that have been free swingers and I think our pitching staff, we couldn’t get our breaking balls over, a lot of the past few series we’ve been playing they’ve been swinging at them, these guys didn’t.”
That was evident in Sunday’s first inning with Aberdeen starting pitcher Leonardo Rodriguez struggling to find the strike zone.
The first three Vermont batters reached on a walk, single and hit batter and all three scored to give the Lake Monsters a 3-0 lead.
Aberdeen hit the baseball hard over the first three innings, but it was a Dalton Hoiles solo home run to left in the third that put the 'Birds on the board.
Vermont added two more runs off Leonardo Rodriguez in the fifth for a 5-1 lead, but Aberdeen also scored twice in the bottom of the inning.
Handley, Fontana and Rutschman hit three straight one-out singles with Rutschman collecting the RBI, his first as an IronBird. Welk followed with a sacrifice fly to plate the second run.
The inning continued with Kyle Stowers walking and Daschbach getting hit by pitch to load the bases. Joey Ortiz flew out to end the inning.
Aberdeen scored two more in the seventh to pull even with the Lake Monsters. Fontana (2-5) opened the inning with his first home run as an IronBird. “I think it was an 0-2 count and I was just battling,” Fontana said. “He left a changeup up and I didn’t miss it.”
Rutschman (2-3, 2 BB) followed with a single and Welk (3-4, RBI) doubled to put runners at second and third. Stowers (1-3) delivered a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Rutschman with the tie run.
Welk reached third on a wild pitch with two away, but was stranded there when Jean Carmona struck out to end the inning.
Aberdeen reliever Yelin Rodriguez came on to pitch the eighth and Vermont was able to score a pair of runs.
The first two batters singled and Yelin Rodriguez hit the next batter to load the bases. With the Aberdeen infield drawn in, the next batter bounced to third, where Welk took a step back to snag the ball. Welk stepped on third for one out and then threw home to Rutschman, who applied the tag on the Vermont runner for the second out.
Yelin Rodriguez then had two strikes on Shane Selman in an miraculous effort to get out of the inning, but Selman singled in the go-ahead run. A throwing error by Rutschman allowed the second run to score.
Aberdeen had a chance in the bottom of the ninth. Rutschman walked and Welk singled to open the inning. Vermont made a pitching change and brought on Jeferson Mejia, a 6-7, 255-pound right hander.
Mejia settled in and struck out Stowers, Daschbach and Ortiz to end the game.
Vermont erupted for five runs in the eighth inning Saturday to win 7-1.
The Lake Monsters racked up five hits and five runs off Aberdeen reliever Marlon Constante. Two of the hits were two-run home runs off the bats of Kyle McCann and Kevin Richards.
The five runs broke up a 1-1 tie and gave Vermont a 6-1 lead. The Lake Monsters added a single run in the ninth as well.
Aberdeen’s offense was shut down on four hits, all singles. Daschbach had the RBI and Handley scored the run. Fontana and Ortiz had the other Aberdeen hits.
Friday night giveaway
Aberdeen let one slip away Friday night in an 7-6 loss to Vermont.
The IronBirds had leads of 3-1 (in first) and 6-2 (through five), but Vermont, which out-hit Aberdeen 11-5, scored five unanswered runs late to win. The Lake Monsters scored twice in the sixth and three times in the seventh.
Aberdeen had five hits with Andrew Fregia providing the lone extra-base hit. His double came in the first, driving in two, for the early 3-1 lead.
Welk and Stowers added an RBI and run scored apiece, while Fontana added a hit and two runs scored. Clay Fisher had the other Aberdeen hit.
Kyle Martin, an Aberdeen reliever, was tagged with a blown save and the loss. Over an inning and two-thirds, Martin allowed four hits, a walk and three runs (two earned). He struck out four.
Griffin McLarty and Yelin Rodriguez combined for five strikeouts over two innings pitched.
'Birds get sweep
The IronBirds completed a three-game sweep Thursday in Niles, Ohio, beating Mahoning Valley, 4-1, in New York Penn League play.
Aberdeen fell behind 1-0 in the third inning, but with two runs in the fourth and two runs in the seventh, earned the win.
Welk continued his hot approach at the plate, adding three more hits to climb to a .361 batting average. Welk hit his second home run and finished with two RBIs.
Ortiz (run), Andrew Fregia and Clay Fisher (RBI) added two hits each in the win. Holies (run) also had one hit and is batting .316.
On the mound, Kevin Magee (2-5) pitched five innings for the win. He scattered six hits, issued one walk and allowed one run, while striking out eight.