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IronBirds edged again by Rome in 3-2 loss

For a second straight night the Aberdeen IronBirds suffered a one-run loss to the Rome Braves. The 3-2 loss drops the ‘Birds to 24-20.

The loss came Friday in High-A East play at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The loss is the third in four games against the Braves and the series continues today (Saturday) at 6:05 p.m. and Sunday at 2:05 p.m.

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“Yeah, 3-2, right there, you know we scored to go ahead on an error they made, so we really didn’t earn it and we didn’t put up any runs, but were facing a really good starters,” Aberdeen manager Kyle Moore said. “They’re bringing some pretty good stuff out of the bullpen, so we got to score more runs.”

While Rome (23-21) starter Alan Rangel was pretty good, so was Aberdeen starter Drew Rom. Rom pitched six innings, allowing five hits, a walk and one run. Rom struck out seven.

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“Got a great start out of Drew Rom and I thought it was really good for his development,” Moore said. “He was on to pitch about 70 to 85 there in the sixth, when he went back out there. In the sixth, the first two runners got on and he pitched through it with no runs, so I thought that was huge for his development.”

Rome’s lone run against Rom came in the third and two outs. A Cody Milligan single, walk to Riley Delgado and another single by Michael Harris delivered the run.

The IronBirds drew even in the fourth. Adam Hall was hit by pitch and the speedster quickly got himself into scoring position by stealing second and third. Maverick Handley then doubled to left to drive in Hall.

The error Moore referenced that put Aberdeen ahead came in the IronBirds seventh.

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Handley drew a leadoff walk. A wild pitch sent him to second and he stole third. Then, with two outs, Jordan Westburg hit a slow roller to Braves shortstop Beau Phillip. Westburg’s hustle forced an errant throw from Phillip and Handley scored the go-ahead run.

Rome, though, scored twice in the eighth to slip back ahead for the win. Milligan (2-4) singled and stole second. Delgado grounded out to first, moving Milligan to third.

Harris (2-4) then grounded out to second, with Aberdeen second baseman Adam Hall making a great play to get the out and keep Milligan at third. “Hallsy made a great diving play, we had the infield in right there, he dives, they’re not going on contact so we get the out.”

The IronBirds looked like they might get out of it as reliever Morgan McSweeney got ahead of Bryce Ball with two strikes. Unfortunately, a passed ball charged to Handley brought Milligan in to tie the game.

Seconds later, Ball hit a high fly ball just over the wall in left field to put the Braves ahead.

“We had plenty of opportunities to score runs right there, couple opportunities early,” Moore said.

Aberdeen squandered a bases loaded, one out chance in first. Walks to Westburg and Zach Watson were followed with Andrew Daschbach being hit by pitch.

Braves pitcher Rangel, however, struck out the next two hitters to end the threat. “We’ve gotta score something right there, we can’t let that guy off the hook and then he goes on to settle in and has a good night. Rangel allowed just two hits and one run. He walked two and struck out nine.

Aberdeen was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

McSweeney (2-2) took the loss. He pitched two innings, giving up three hits, a walk and two runs. He struck out two.

Shelton Perkins threw one inning, striking out one. Handley and Mundy both hit doubles for Aberdeen.

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