The Aberdeen IronBirds guaranteed their first series win Wednesday night at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, beating Tri-City, 12-6, in a game that featured 19 hits, 20 walks and 19 strikeouts.
And it took 3:40 to play.
It was Ryan Conroy’s second start for the ‘Birds and it started eerily similar. Tri-City’s Preston Pavlica doubled off Conroy’s first pitch and later scored.
Conroy also gave up a hit on his first pitch last time out, but pitched a strong seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out 12.
It wasn’t s duplicate outing, but Conroy did last five innings to get the win and improve to 2-0. He gave up three hits, three walks and two runs (one earned). he also struck out three.
Offensively, Aberdeen (4-2) batters supported the pitchers with 12 hits. Down 1-0 in the first, Joey Ortiz walked and Jean Carmona (3-5) doubled with one out.
Both scored when passed balls occurred on consecutive pitches.
The ValleyCats tied the game 2-2 with a run in the third, but Aberdeen answered in the bottom half of the inning with four runs.
Jaylen Ferguson tripled to deep right-center field and scored on a wild pitch to start the rally.
The next five batters all reached, four by walks, scoring the next two runs. Another bases loaded walk also forced in the fourth run.
The defense, meanwhile, was also doing its part. Right fielder Dalton Hoiles threw out a runner at the plate in the second inning and then went to the ground to snag a deep drive in the fifth.
Second baseman Carmona made a diving catch in shallow center field in the second inning and then grabbed a grounder behind the bag at second, turned and fired a cross body throw for the out at first in the fourth.
“I think the team is just starting to take shape. There’s a lot of guys coming in, there’s a lot of guys going out,” infielder Juan Montes said. “The one thing as a team, we’re just getting to know each other. As a team, we’re just looking to do our best and its turning out pretty well.”
The ‘Birds blew the game open in the seventh with five more runs. Toby Welk (2-5) and Johnny Rizer (1-3) both hit two-run doubles and Ortiz (2-3) added an RBI single. Ortiz and Jordan Cannon both collected first professional hits.
The offense made things a little easier on the night as Tri-City made the game a bit more interesting with three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. The Aberdeen lead was never in jeopardy, but the ‘Birds added their 12th run in the eighth as well.
Hoiles singled and scored on a Montes double.
Hitting coach Tom Eller is fairly pleased with the team’s offense through six games. “We’re definitely seeing benefits, but the problem right now is that we have 44 position players and you don’t see the same guys every night,” Eller said. “Luckily, KB’s (IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw) been keeping guys who have multiple hits, they’re going back the next day and playing, but again, it’s just tough, nobody can really get into a groove.”
The ‘Birds and ValleyCats were to play the final game of the series tonight (Thursday) and then travel to Hudson Valley for three over the weekend.
The New York-Penn League will take the day off Monday and Aberdeen will be back home for three against McNamara Division rival Brooklyn starting Tuesday.