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Roberts RBI double gives Aberdeen IronBirds season-opening win

The Aberdeen IronBirds celebrate after Friday's season-opening win over Hudson Valley in Friday night's home game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The Aberdeen IronBirds celebrate after Friday's season-opening win over Hudson Valley in Friday night's home game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button / The Aegis)

Cody Roberts’ two-out, RBI double put the Aberdeen IronBirds in the win column Friday night to get the 2019 New York-Penn League season off to a winning start.

Aberdeen beat Hudson Valley, 2-1, at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 5,969. The opener also served as Military Appreciation Night.

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Aberdeen and Hudson Valley will play again Saturday at 6:05 p.m.

IronBirds starting pitcher Ryan Conroy was nearly un-hittable. Renegades leadoff hitter K.V. Edwards hit Conroy’s first pitch into center field for a single.

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That was the only hit Conroy and two relievers allowed.

“Going into a game like that, I just gotta to give my team a chance to win and that first pitch of the game, you know, get the nerves out,” Conroy said. “He happened to hit it and I was like, ‘alright, time to go to work’.”

Conroy retired the next 16 batters and threw seven strong innings in the no-decision. He allowed an unearned run in his final inning and finished with 12 strikeouts.

“I had everything working, my slider, my splitter, two-seam, four-seam, everything was going where I wanted it to and it worked out in my favor,” Conroy said.

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Conroy’s only real trouble came in the seventh, his final inning and with the game still scoreless. A one-out walk (two total) was followed by an error on a ground ball to third. Conroy got the next batter to ground into a fielder’s choice, cutting down a run at the plate, but it left runners at second and third with two outs.

Conroy’s next pitch to Raider Brito was wide and to the backstop, allowing Carlos Vargas to score the game’s first run.

Conroy got Brito to ground out and his teammates picked him up in the bottom half of the inning.

“He was just outstanding, he’s been kind of floating around, so we didn’t know really how much he’d been pitching and we probably stretched him and little bit, too, far and he got a little tired,” IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw said. “That sinker was working, the split was working, the slider was working, he had everything working.”

Aberdeen IronBirds pitcher Ryan Conroy delivers the pitch during Friday night's opening day game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
Aberdeen IronBirds pitcher Ryan Conroy delivers the pitch during Friday night's opening day game at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button / The Aegis)

In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, Trey Truitt was hit by pitch. Irving Ortega hit the next pitch over the left fielder’s head, scoring Truitt from first with tie run.

Aberdeen had decent scoring chances in both previous at bats. In the fifth, Roberts (2-4) and Alex Murphy (1-3) both had singles and Aberdeen had runners at second and third with one out.

Renegades starting pitcher Daiveyon Whittle, who was equally effective, got Truitt to strike out and Ortega to ground out. Whittle threw five innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.

In the sixth, off Renegades reliever Edisson Gonzalez, Clay Fisher opened the inning with a triple. Fisher was gunned down at the plate on a grounder to first.

In the eighth though, it was another leadoff triple that the ‘Birds were able to cash in.

Carmona (2-4) legged out the triple with a gapper to left-center field off Renegades reliever Steffon Moore. It appeared the IronBirds might go scoreless for the second time in three innings after a leadoff triple, but Roberts came through.

Moore struck out the Aberdeen 3-4 hitters, Robert Neustrom and Edison Lantigua, setting up the Roberts heroics.

Roberts, one of three current ‘Birds in Aberdeen on rehab, lofted a fly ball down the right field line. Hudson Valley outfielder Brito seemed to overrun the ball and the ball fell safely fair. Carmona raced home with the go-ahead run and Roberts, who was credited with a double, got thrown out.

“It’s definitely a great feeling, we kind of had them on the line a couple times that game,” Roberts said. “All I was trying to do there was put the ball in play, we had the guy on third, so, I mean it just worked out in our favor that the outfielder misplayed it a little bit, but that’s baseball.”

Aberdeen reliever Yelin Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth inning to get the win. Marlon Constante came on to pitch the ninth, setting down three straight batters to earn the save.

“The relief pitching, I’ve got to mention that,” Bradshaw said. “Yelin comes in, again throwing that changeup when he has to. He hit that guy, but he didn’t panic and Constante came in and shut the door.”

Aberdeen’s roster saw three new additions Friday. 2019 draft picks Joey Ortiz, Toby Welk and Johnny Rizer.

Ortiz (0-3) served as the designated hitter, while Welk and Rizer did not play.

“We’ve got so many position players, some of the rehab guys have to play again tomorrow night, but for the most part, we might have a whole new lineup. Get the guys in there and get their feet wet,” Bradshaw said.

Aberdeen IronBirds baserunner Trey Truitt celebrates as he crosses the plate for the IronBirds first score of the season in Friday night's home opener at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
Aberdeen IronBirds baserunner Trey Truitt celebrates as he crosses the plate for the IronBirds first score of the season in Friday night's home opener at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button / The Aegis / Baltimore Sun)

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