The Aberdeen IronBirds were in position for a sweep Tuesday night, but the Vermont Lake Monsters had other ideas.
Aberdeen pitching surrendered four hits, five walks, a hit batter, an error and seven runs through three innings as Vermont rolled to an 9-3 win in New York-Penn League play at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The result left both teams with 6-6 records. Aberdeen had an off day Wednesday and was to visit Lowell in Massachusetts on Thursday. The ‘Birds are also in Lowell Friday and Saturday, before coming back to Aberdeen for three with Hudson Valley.
In Tuesday’s loss it went down hill for Aberdeen and starting pitcher Hector Guance rather quickly.
Guance got the first batter out, but a walk, errant pick off throw, single, hit batter and another error led to a pair of Vermont runs.
Guance steadied himself in the second, setting the side down in order, but it all fell apart in the third. Three hits (two doubles), four walks, a passed ball and a balk produced five more Vermont runs. Guance was responsible for six runs and Josh Keaton, who came on to get the final two outs, was charged with one run on two hits.
There were a few bright spots for Aberdeen despite the tough night. Kevin Magee, a ninth round pick in this year’s MLB draft, tossed three scoreless innings of relief in his first professional outing.
“I was definitely nervous coming in, but the coaches did a good job of letting me warm up, I had plenty of time in the pen,” Magee said. “When I got out there, I definitely noticed the crowd and the speed of the game was a little bit faster than college, obviously, but I was able to settle down, the guys behind me made some great plays.”
Magee, a 6-2, 210-pound lefty, did give up two hits and walk, while striking out three.
“I think Cody [Roberts] and I did a good job of mixing, obviously I don’t have the flashy velocity numbers, but we did a good job of mixing the fastball in, getting guys off the plate and then going off-speed away,” Magee said.
Roberts, who was also making his debut with the ‘Birds as catcher, said, “We were just on page a lot with pitch count and stuff. Coming in here, being my first day, I didn’t know many of the arms, so it was really just trying to learn the other guys and figure out what they like to throw. For the most part, me and Magee were on, he threw a lot of strikes tonight and got ahead.”
With Aberdeen trailing 7-0 in the fifth, it was Roberts who got the ‘Birds on the scoreboard in the fifth.
He led off the inning with his first professional hit. “I felt great, just being able to come in and help the team get a little bit of rally going and stuff in my first game was really cool,” Roberts said.
Alexis Torres followed Roberts with a walk and Robbie Thorburn singled to load the bases. Roberts then scored easily on a wild pitch. “Kind of getting that started and being able to score that first run was big,” Roberts said.
There wasn’t too much more to celebrate offensively for Aberdeen. The ‘Birds did score twice in the seventh, but so did Vermont.
Torres singled and Thorburn reached on error with one out. With two away, Adam Hall and Robert Neustrom hit back-to-back RBI singles to provide the final two runs.
Aberdeen did have another good showing from reliever Juan Echevarria. The slender righty gave a up one hit, while striking out six over two scoreless innings.
No Aberdeen batter had more than one hit.