The Aegis Sports

Aberdeen IronBirds force winner-take-all Game 3 against Bowling Green in South Atlantic League championship series

The Aberdeen IronBirds used 13 runs and 13 hits Tuesday night to get within one win from a South Atlantic League championship.

In a must-win scenario, Aberdeen rolled over Bowling Green, 13-6, at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The win forces a winner-take-all Game 3 set for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night at the stadium.


Aberdeen got started early with Jud Fabian (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) singling in Dylan Beavers with two outs in the first inning.

The ‘Birds added to the lead in the second with eight and nine hitters, Isaac De Leon (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Frederick Bencosme (3-for-4, 3 runs), respectively, singling with two outs. Beavers followed with a home run, his first as an IronBird, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Aberdeen infielder Frederick Bencosme, right, congratulates teammate Max Wagner on a good play during the South Atlantic League championship series against Bowling Green at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium on Tuesday.

“The offense came through. We talked about it early on, if our offense can get going early on, build that momentum and kind of save some arms if we had to,” manager Roberto Mercado said. “I know all hands were on deck and the offense gave us an opportunity to save some guys for tomorrow.”

The Hot Rods cut the lead in half in the third inning on Nate Soria’s two-run blast, but Aberdeen answered that with a five-run fourth inning.

Billy Cook singled in two and Heston Kjerstad tripled in two more. Kjerstad also scored on the play thanks to an errant throw, giving the ‘Birds a 9-2 lead.

Aberdeen starter Jean Pinto, meanwhile, was strong over 5 2/3 innings. Pinto allowed three hits, a walk and three runs (one earned), while striking out four.

Leading 9-3, Aberdeen added three more runs in the sixth. Bencosme opened with a double and later scored on Kjerstad’s sacrifice fly. Max Wagner later doubled in Beavers (2-for-3, 4 runs, 3 RBIs) and Fabian for a 12-3 lead.

Reliever Alex Pham came on to pitch 2 1/3 innings. He allowed one hit and one run, while striking out two.

“As a team, we’re very excited to be here, but we know the job’s not finished. So we’re going to bring our ‘A’ game [Wednesday] and just leave it all between the lines and hope for the best,” Pham said. “We have the guys to do it, so I’m excited for tomorrow and see what we can do.”

Aberdeen added a final run in the eighth on a Fabian RBI double.

Aberdeen's Dylan Beavers puts the ball in play during a turn at bat in the South Atlantic League championship series against Bowling Green at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium on Tuesday.

Rickey Ramirez came on to pitch the ninth for Aberdeen. He gave up two hits, hit a batter, walked a batter and an Aberdeen error aided two Bowling Green runs.

A few words for the fans, Mercado said, “Come out and support a great team, a great organization that’s done a great job of putting a good product on the field, regardless of guys moving up, we get reloaded and guys are ready to play and they’re prepared. So, they’re a joy to watch, come out and support us and hopefully we bring Aberdeen the championship.”

Peter Van Loon, who went 11-4 during the season, will make the start.