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IronBirds blanked by Rome, 14-0, in first home game in 16 days

Aberdeen outfielder Adam Hall attempts to make the diving grab on a Rome fly ball during Tuesday's game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
Aberdeen outfielder Adam Hall attempts to make the diving grab on a Rome fly ball during Tuesday's game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Hoping to recover a little from the 4-8 road trip, the Aberdeen IronBirds opened two-week home stand Tuesday night at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.

The ‘Birds hosted the Rome Braves (Atlanta) in High-A East action and it was Braves from start to finish. Rome (21-20) shut out Aberdeen (23-18), 14-0.

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The Braves scored five runs in the first inning and they never looked back.

Rome jumped all over Aberdeen starting pitcher Jake Prizina after Prizina had gotten the first two batters out.

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The Braves had four extra-base hits in the inning with Jesse Franklin supplying the big blow, a three-run blast over the wall and over the IronBirds bullpen.

“It’s just kind of the way it’s been going for us a little bit lately, but we just got to sure that up,” Aberdeen manager Kyle Moore said. “We lost some of our best starters to Bowie and we’re just trying to piece it together right now. We’re trying to battle as a pitching staff and really as a team as a whole to sort of get this thing back. Not the first we were hoping for, but we’ll get it together.”

Outfielder Kyle Stowers, infielder Toby Welk and starting pitcher Kyle Brnovich are the latest IronBirds to move up to Bowie. Catcher Cody Roberts is part of Triple A Norfolk’s roster.

New Aberdeen IronBird Gunnar Henderson makes his way to the batters box during Tuesday's game against Rome at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
New Aberdeen IronBird Gunnar Henderson makes his way to the batters box during Tuesday's game against Rome at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The ‘Birds do have three new players, including infielder Gunnar Henderson, the Orioles second round pick (42nd pick overall) in the 2019 draft. Henderson went 0-2 with two walks in his Aberdeen debut.

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Outfielders Dylan Harris and Trevor Kehe came in as subs in the ninth inning. Kehe did get an at bat, but he was hit by pitch.

The Braves added a sixth run in the third off Prizina. Franklin (3-4, 5 RBIs) did the honors with an RBI single.

Prizina’s night was over through three innings. The lefty allowed six hits, a walk and six runs, all earned. He did strike out two.

Aberdeen had just three hits, but with walks, the ‘Birds had runners on most innings, but without the hits, no runners crossed the plate.

Aberdeen had two runners on in the fourth and fifth innings, but Rome starting pitcher Bryce Elder overcame the trouble by getting five of the six outs by strikeout.

Elder allowed just two hits and he walked three batters, while striking out seven. The Braves relievers were just as effective.

Davis Schwab gave up one hit and one walk over two innings and he struck out two. Trey Riley struck out two in an inning of work and Marrick Crouse walked a batter, hit a batter and struck out another in an inning of work.

Offensively, Rome pushed its lead to double digits in the seventh off Aberdeen reliever Ryan Wilson. Two-out singles from Kevin Josephina and Bruce Ball and a walk to Franklin set the table. Logan Brown cleared it with a grand slam just over the wall in right.

Wilson’s lasted three and two-third innings. allowing three hits, four walks and four earned runs. Wilson struck out two.

In the Aberdeen half of the seventh, Shayne Fontana (2-3) hit a leadoff double. Adam Hall then walked, but Schwab got the next three batters out.

Rome then added its final four runs in the eighth off Aberdeen reliever Nick Roth. Roth walked the leadoff hitter Shean Michel, before giving up consecutive singles to Cody Milligan and Riley Delgado (RBI).

Roth struck out the next batter, but he walked the next two to force in a run. Roth also wild pitched in a run, while Franklin added his third hit and fifth RBI to end the scoring.

Jonathan Pendergast, bright spot out of the bullpen, came on to strike out two batters in the eighth, before retiring the side in order in the ninth.

The ‘Birds will look to even the series Wednesday. “We’re going to lean on [Garrett] Stallings tomorrow to come out and set the tone and give us a much better game than that,” Moore said. “When you give up five in the first, it’s just sort of hard to play, it’s hard to hit, it’s hard to play D, it’s hard to stand out there for 25 minutes.”

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