The Aberdeen IronBirds (16-7) were back in town Tuesday night and despite getting out-hit, 8-7, the ‘Birds dealt the Hickory Crawdads an 8-3 defeat at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in High-A East minor league action.
The two teams will square off again Wednesday with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday’s win gave the IronBirds another series starting win. Five series, five wins.
“I couldn’t even tell you, I definitely love starting with a win, but I love the fact that we won this game tonight,” Aberdeen manager Kyle Moore said. “An opponent we had a little bit of history with in ‘19, so it’s always nice to beat those guys. Those guys knocked us out of the payoffs in ‘19, so a little bit of personal history with me, but that doesn’t mean anything to this team, it’s a new team.”
Moore was managing Delmarva in 2019 when Hickory eliminated the Shorebirds from the playoffs.
Aberdeen fell behind twice before going ahead for good in the fourth.
Hickory (10-15) jumped on top in the third on a Pedro Gonzalez solo home run.
The IronBirds answered quickly with two runs in the bottom of the third. Shayne Fontana and Kyle Stowers both walked and with two outs, Toby Welk (2-4) lined a double to the wall in left, scoring both runners.
Hickory, though, also scored twice in the fourth inning to slide back ahead. Some field issues for the IronBirds aided the two runs. With two away, Gonzalez hit a high fly ball to short right field, with three Aberdeen infielders shifted on the left side of the infield.
Stowers charged hard from right field, but the ball landed safely onto the turf for a two-run single.
Like the previous inning, Aberdeen came right back and it was one of two new IronBirds collecting the big hit. A double by Zach Watson (2-3, triple) and walks to Andrew Daschbach and Fontana loaded the bases for Jordan Westburg, an Orioles first round pick in 2020 (30th overall).
Westburg lined a bases-clearing double to left-center field, pushing Aberdeen back ahead, 5-3, and for good.
Three Aberdeen relievers combined for five innings of shutout baseball. Nick Roth (1-1) threw two innings for the win, allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out three. Felix Bautista also pitched two innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Clayton McGinness pitched the final inning, walking one and striking out two. Starter Kyle Brnovich pitched the first four innings. He gave up five hits, three walks and three earned runs. He struck out five.
“I thought our bullpen did a great job tonight and I thought Brnovich did a nice job, too,” Moore said. “Really only gave up one run...didn’t catch a pop-up, just gave them two runs. Everybody that pitched tonight had eight days off because we got rained out three times in Brooklyn.”
Aberdeen catcher Cody Roberts also threw two Crawdads baserunners out trying to steam second base.
With the bullpen keeping the Crawdads in check, Aberdeen went to the long ball to add three runs in the eighth. The ‘Birds other new addition, JD Mundy, rocked a solo home run into the Aberdeen bullpen.
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Two batters later, Daschbach blasted one to left field, a two-run shot, to end the scoring.