Coming off of a rough series against the Tri-City Valleycats where the offense and pitching struggled, the Aberdeen IronBirds corrected both issues Wednesday agaist Brooklyn. Using a four-run first inning, the team cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Cyclones to snap a three-game losing streak.
Right hander Gray Fenter came on in relief and picked up the win for the IronBirds, allowing one earned run, while striking out five in five innings pitched. Offensively, shortstop Adam Hall led the charge for Aberdeen by going 3-for-4 with two RBI’s.
The IronBirds wasted little time plating runs, sending all nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first while chasing Brooklyn starter Brian Campusano after 38 pitches in just two-thirds of an inning.
“Those were professional at bats,” IronBirds manager Kyle Moore said. “That’s something that we talked about a lot this season. Waiting a guy out, being selective for your pitch and I thought we did a great job of that tonight from the first at bat on”
Designated Hitter Robbie Thorburn roped a double to right field. After centerfielder Nick Hovarth drew a walk and first baseman Seamus Curran grounded a single to right, third baseman Willy Yahn poked a Bermuda Triangle popup to center field to bring home the first run of the game.
It looked like Campusano would get out of the jam after inducing consecutive outs to right fielder Robert Neustrom and catcher Cody Roberts. Hall had other plans, however, as he lined a two-run single over leaping second baseman Carlos Cortes to increase the lead to 3-0. One batter later, Yahn — who was at third — and Hall executed a double steal, which pushed the lead to 4-0.
“Bases were loaded, so I didn’t need to do too much with [the bat] up there,” Hall said. “I was just trying to hit a ball hard, find a gap maybe, or at least get one run in.”
The IronBirds had other chances to score, but weren’t as fruitful with those opportunities. They once again had the bases loaded in the bottom of the third after three straight singles by Roberts, Hall and second baseman Alexis Torres with two out, but left fielder Doran Turchin grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Aberdeen had another runner in scoring position in its half of the fifth, when Neustrom lined a double down the right field line. Consecutive groundouts by Roberts and Hall snuffed out the modest threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, the IronBirds finally cashed in on another scoring chance. With runners at second and third with two outs, courtesy of two Cyclones errors, Torres sliced a single to right centerfield to push the lead to 6-1, all but ending the game.
Ultimately, the IronBirds didn’t need to tack on extra runs, as the collective efforts of the pitching staff held the Cyclones offense. Righty Jordan Kipper started, but he only stayed in for one inning. It was an effective frame, as Kipper allowed just one hit while striking out two. Fenter came in after that and gave the Birds five solid innings. Fellow relievers Nick Vichio and Ryan Conroy kept things rolling from there, as the Cyclones didn’t record a hit after the fifth.
“As a pitcher, whenever your guys are scoring runs, it’s really good,” Fenter said. “You can go out there and know that you can pound the zone and let guys make contact. You’re more comfortable, pressure’s not there as much, you’re just more relaxed and it allows you to be a better pitcher.”
After the first, Brooklyn went hitless for the next three innings. Third baseman Brian Sharp smacked an opposite field home run to right, putting the Cyclones on the board in the top of the fifth.