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IronBirds sit 2-2 after four games of New York-Penn League play

The Aberdeen IronBirds, off to an 2-2 start, are scheduled to be back in Aberdeen starting tonight, to begin a three-game series with Tri-City.
The Aberdeen IronBirds, off to an 2-2 start, are scheduled to be back in Aberdeen starting tonight, to begin a three-game series with Tri-City. (Matt Button / The Aegis)

After opening the 2019 baseball season with a hard-fought and exciting win Friday night in Aberdeen, the IronBirds went 1-2 over their next three games to sit at 2-2 in New York-Penn League play.

The IronBirds are scheduled to host Tri-City tonight in the first of three with the ValleyCats. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.

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The latest loss came Monday night in Brooklyn, NY, where the ‘Birds were beaten 4-1, a day after Aberdeen edged the Cyclones, 4-3, in the brief, two-game series opener.

In Monday’s loss, Aberdeen pitching gave up just three hits, but a pair of throwing errors led to a pair of unearned runs and Luke Ritter provided the other two Brooklyn runs with a home run.

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Aberdeen starting pitcher Adam Stauffer worked the first four innings, allowing the three hits and four runs (two earned). He walked one and struck out five.

Reed Hayes, transferred to Aberdeen on Sunday, pitched four scoreless and hitless innings of relief. Hayes walked two and struck out four.

Offensively, Aberdeen was shut down on just two hits, while Brooklyn pitching sent Aberdeen batters down on strikes 14 times.

A highlight, though, Robert Neustrom, back in Aberdeen on rehab, singled in the lone run. Ian Evans (walk) scored the run. Jean Carmona had the other Aberdeen hit, also a single.

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In Sunday’s win, Aberdeen scored three single runs early and then held on late for the win.

Johnny Rizer, a seventh round pick in this year‘s MLB Draft, ignited the Aberdeen offense with a 3-for-5 effort, including a double, triple, run scored and RBI.

Evans (RBI), Irving Ortega (RBI) and Lenin Rodriguez added two hits apiece.

Aberdeen added its fourth run in the eighth inning, which proved large as Brooklyn scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth to make it close. All three runs weer

Five Aberdeen pitchers combined for the win. Starter Dallas Litscher earned the win, tossing five and two-third innings of shutout ball. Litscher allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out seven in his Aberdeen debut.

Nick Meservey, Andrew Ciolli and Felix Bautista combined for two innings, while Marlon Constante came on to pitch the final inning and a third for his second save in as many chances.

Pitching woes in game two

Aberdeen pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone Saturday night in a 6-1 loss to visiting Hudson Valley at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.

Despite the issues, Aberdeen was down just 2-0 entering the the ninth inning, but the worst was yet to come. Four walks came in that ninth inning.

Aberdeen pitchers, five of them, walked nine batters in the loss. Reliever Jason Montville had the toughest outing. The lefty walked two and gave up four hits and four earned runs over one and two-third innings. Montville also threw two wild pitches.

Starting pitcher Kevin Magee pitched into the fourth. He allowed two hits, an earned run and a walk. He struck out three.

There were highlights, offensively. Rizer and Toby Welk (21st round, 2019) both collected first professional hits.

Rizer’s (2-3) came in his first at bat, a single in the third inning. “It felt amazing. I was real relaxed at the plate, wasn’t trying to do too, much, Rizer said. “It’s nice to get it out of the way, so I can just go play and have fun, don’t have to worry about getting my first hit.”

Welk’s moment came in the sixth with a leadoff single. “The pitch was a little in on my hands and I just slapped it up the middle,” Welk said. “I was kind of just in awe when it happened.”

The other true highlight came in the bottom of the ninth. Jaylen Ferguson led off the inning with a solo shot over the left field wall. It was the IronBirds first of the season.

Cody Roberts added two hits for the IronBirds.

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