The Aberdeen IronBirds won their 11th game over the past 13 games Monday and did so with a ninth inning, walk-off rally.
The 'Birds (17-13) scored three runs in the final at bat to beat visiting Williamsport, 4-3, and earn Aberdeen a three-game sweep at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The win keeps the IronBirds in a three-way tie atop the McNamara Division with Hudson Valley and Brooklyn.
The team had a New York-Penn League day off Tuesday and will resume the home stand Wednesday with a double header.
Wednesday action begins at 5:05 p.m. with the resumption of a game started and halted by rain on July 3. The 'Birds are down 3-1 to Connecticut through two innings. Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game will begin 30 minutes after the resumed game’s conclusion. Both games are set for seven innings.
The IronBirds and Tigers will also play Thursday and Friday at the stadium. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m.
In Monday’s win, the IronBirds and Crosscutters battled each other scoreless through six innings. Williamsport scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth, while Aberdeen plated a single run in the seventh.
Then came the ninth.
Trey Truitt opened the inning with his first home run, but after two quick outs, the IronBirds were down to their last out and still a run shy.
Toby Welk singled and was balked to second base, where Zach Watson came on as a pinch runner. Watson went to third base on another balk and Ian Evans singled him in.
“It got to a 2-0 count and trying to do some damage, he came in with a fastball and once I got to 3-1, I figured he’d come back in and that’s what he did,” Daschbach said. “That was my plan, to try and hit there and I’m lucky it snuck out, lucky it’s 310 down the line and not 325 back at Stanford. I was just happy to give us a chance to win."
The blast gave the 'Birds a 4-2 lead, but some bullpen issues made things a bit nervous for the team and its fans.
Yelin Rodriguez got two outs, but two walks and an error had the bases loaded for Williamsport in the top of the eighth.
James Ryan came on to strike out the next batter and keep the two-run lead.
Shelton Perkins came on to close the game out in the ninth, but he ran into trouble. Perkins did get one out, but he also walked four to plate the third Crosscutters run.
Marlon Constante entered and got the next two batters out to secure the win and earn his third save.
“We created some situations that made it a little difficult, but my cap goes off to Ryan who came in with that big strikeout and then Constante, in that ninth inning with the strikeout and ground ball,” Aberdeen manager Kevin Bradshaw said. “The keep battling and it’s hard to imagine that many guys coming out of the pen doing well at the same time, but we made some pitches when we had to.”
Jordan Cannon (2B, RBI, run) and Ortega led the offense with two hits each.
Aberdeen starting pitcher Leonardo Rodriguez gave up the first inning home run, but settled in to throw six innings. He allowed just one other hit and two walks, while striking out five.
Five Aberdeen pitchers shut the Crosscutters down on six hits Saturday as the 'Birds won the series opener, 3-0, at the stadium.
Watson and Kyle Stowers both had two hits and a run scored, while Joey Ortiz and Daschbach (two) had the RBIs.
2019 draft picks Dan Hammer (13th round, Pittsburgh) and Houston Roth (29th round, Mississippi) both pitched two innings in professional debuts. Roth was credited with the win. Brian Gonzalez (rehab) also pitched two innings, striking out five.
Griffin McLarty added two perfect innings of relief and Connor Gillispie pitched final inning for his second save.
The IronBirds won the series at West Virginia after a split with the Black Bears on Friday.
Aberdeen dropped the opener, 3-1, but took game two, 4-0.
In the loss, Brett Cumberland (rehab) had two hits and the only RBI. Stowers and Graham also had two hits each for the 'Birds.
Kevin Magee (0-4) took the loss, working five innings. He gave up five hits, a walk and two runs runs. He struck out six.
Jake Lyons added an inning of relief, allowing a home run, while striking out one.
In the win, Dallas Litscher (3-0) tossed five innings of two-hit baseball for the win. He walked three and struck out six. Kade Strowd added two innings of relief, giving up two hits and striking out three.