Aberdeen got back in the win column Friday night as the IronBirds dealt Wilmington, a 5-2 loss, in a High-A East Minor League Baseball game played at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The ‘Birds (10-6) scored early, but on this night it was all about starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez, the Orioles top pick (11th overall) in 2018, was dealing in a six inning outing.
Rodriguez did give up a solo home run, but that was the only hit he allowed en route to his second win. He also hit a batter and he struck out eight in a 64-pitch effort.
Offensively, the IronBirds gave Rodriguez support early. Shayne Fontana and Johnny Rizer both singled to put runners on the corners in the first inning.
Joey Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to score Fontana and Kyle Stowers roped a double to drive in Rizer for the 2-0 Aberdeen lead.
The IronBirds added two more runs in the third. Rizer led off with a walk and Ortiz singled. Stowers grounded out to second, but both runners moved up a base, which proved large.
Maverick Handley struck out for the second out, but A.J. Graffanino picked Handley and the team up with a two-RBI single. The lead was 4-1.
Aberdeen scored its final run in the sixth. Zach Watson blasted a ball into the Blue Rocks bullpen with two away.
Wilmington’s first hit was a home run for Gage Canning in the fifth. It also landed in the Blue Rocks bullpen.
The Blue Rocks other run was scored in the seventh against Aberdeen reliever Ryan Wilson. Wilson walked two and gave up one hit and the earned run in one inning of work. Wilson also struck out two.
Garrett Farmer threw the final two innings for his second save. Farmer allowed no hits or walks and he struck out one.
The IronBirds had nine hits with Stowers the lone batter with two hits.
Aberdeen and Wilmington will close the series with games Saturday (6:05 p.m.) and Sunday (2:05 p.m.)
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The team has an off day Monday and will be on the road to Brooklyn (NY Mets) Tuesday to begin that six-game series.