The Aberdeen IronBirds split the final two games of their home series against Wilmington, winning Saturday’s game, 5-4, but losing big, 15-3, in Sunday’s afternoon’s finale.
The split also gave the ‘Birds their second straight series split. Aberdeen stands 11-7 in High-A East and in first place in North Division standings. The ‘Birds are two games better than both Hudson Valley and Wilmington, both of which are 9-9.
In Saturday night’s win, it was a balk that put Aberdeen in the win column. With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom the eighth, Aberdeen loaded the bases on three singles from Toby Welk, Andrew Daschbach and Shayne Fontana.
With two outs and Joey Ortiz at the plate, a balk call against Malvin Pena brought Welk across the plate with the eventual winning run.
Aberdeen pitcher Morgan McSweeney, who had wild pitched in the tie run in the top of the eighth, pitched the ninth for the win. McSweeney gave up two hits and he struck out two over two innings.
Garrett Stallings made the start for Aberdeen, allowing three earned runs on six hits (two home runs) over five innings. Stallings struck out three.
Reliever Kade Strowd threw two scoreless innings, walking a batter and striking out two.
Welk and Daschbach both finished with two hits, but Kyle Stowers led the offense with a 3-3 day with two runs scored and an RBI.
Gage Canning and Justin Connell both had two hits to lead the Blue Rocks.
Wilmington’s Armond Upshaw hit a leadoff home run and the Blue Rocks rolled from there with help from the Aberdeen defense.
The Blue Rocks had five hits in the inning, while Aberdeen pitchers issued three walks and the defense committed three errors. All told, Wilmington scored eight runs. Aberdeen had five errors in the game.
The Blue Rocks added single runs in the third and fifth innings and then closed the game with a five-run ninth.
Aberdeen, meanwhile, was limited to a single run each in the third, fifth and ninth innings.
The IronBirds had five hits, with Cody Roberts collecting two.
Kyle Brnovich (2-1) made the start, but couldn’t get out of the first inning. He gave up four hits, a walk and eight runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning. He struck out two.
Five other Aberdeen pitchers saw mount time in the loss.
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Jacob Rhinesmith had four hits and four RBIs to led the Blue Rocks 15-hit attack.