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IronBirds drop final two games of series against Asheville

Aberdeen infielder AJ Graffanino tries to put a tag on Asheville runner Zach Daniels, who was called safe in his base-stealing attempt during the sixth inning of Saturday's IronBirds game at Ripken Stadium.
Aberdeen infielder AJ Graffanino tries to put a tag on Asheville runner Zach Daniels, who was called safe in his base-stealing attempt during the sixth inning of Saturday's IronBirds game at Ripken Stadium. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media)

The Aberdeen IronBirds dropped both weekend games to the Asheville Tourists, but finished the six-game series with a 4-2 mark. The ‘Birds were beaten 9-1 Saturday and 13-5 Sunday in High-A East action at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.

The ‘Birds will begin another six-game series Tuesday night at home against Wilmington. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

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In Sunday’s loss, Aberdeen (47-41) fell behind 4-0 in the first inning. Aberdeen starting pitcher Conner Loeprich gave up four hits, a walk and four runs.

Aberdeen, though, scored three times in the first and once in the second to pull even.

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Jordan Westburg hit a leadoff double and J.D. Mundy walked. Andrew Daschbach then doubled to score Westburg. Hudson Haskin walked in between a pair of strikeouts and AJ Graffanino hit a two-out, two-run single to pull the ‘Birds within a run.

The ‘Birds then pulled even in the second inning. Chris Burgess walked and on the combination of a wild pitch and throwing error by the catcher, he moved from first to third. A Mundy single brought Burgess in to tie the game, 4-4.

Unfortunately, Asheville went back ahead with a run in the next half inning, and that wasn’t all the Tourists scored the rest of the game.

The Tourists added four in the sixth, three more in the eighth and one in the ninth.

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Aberdeen also scored once in the ninth. Burgess drew another walk and a wild pitch moved him to second. A balk and then, yet, another wild pitch allowed Burgess to score.

Graffanino led the offense with two hits and two RBIs, while Burgess added a hit and two runs scored.

All Aberdeen pitchers, four of them, gave up runs. Starter Loeprich allowed six hits, two walks and five runs over four innings. Kade Strowd pitched two innings, allowing three hits, a walk and four runs.

Xavier Moore also pitched two innings, giving up one hit, two walks, and three runs (two earned), while Shelton Perkins allowed a hit, two walks and one run in an inning of work.

Saturday loss

Aberdeen starting pitcher Brandon Young threw five strong innings, allowing two hits, one run and striking out 10, but the offense couldn’t provide much support in the 9-1 loss.

The game was scoreless through four innings and both teams plated a run in the fifth inning. Craig Lewis walked and scored on a Mundy single for the IronBirds lone run.

Asheville added another run in the sixth, before exploding for six runs in the seventh. Aberdeen reliever Morgan McSweeney (2-5) took the brunt of it in one inning of work. He gave up four hits, four walks and six runs (four earned).

Tyler Burch came on for additional relief and fared a little better. Burch allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) over two innings.

Clayton McGinness threw a clean final inning, striking out two.

Daschbach had two hits to pace the Aberdeen offense.

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