Things are not getting any better for the Aberdeen IronBirds, as they were knocked off, 5-1, by host Brooklyn on Wednesday night for their seventh straight defeat.
Through Wednesday's game, their 13th of the 2014 campaign, the IronBirds are 1-12, having picked up their lone win, a 1-0 victory over Staten Island, on June 18.
The defeat in Brooklyn paralleled Aberdeen's 4-1 Tuesday-night loss to Staten Island, in which the IronBirds saw a late-game, one-run deficit expand when the opposition jumped on Aberdeen's bullpen. This time around, Aberdeen was trailing, 2-1, in the eighth, when Brooklyn got to reliever Ivan Hernandez for three tallies on three singles and a triple.
Aberdeen went down in order in the top of the ninth, allowing Brooklyn to seal the victory.
"We've had some very mentally exhausting games this season already," Aberdeen manager Matt Merullo said. "Before [last night] the only other game we lost by more than one run went to extra innings. For guys at this level, that can be very tough to handle. We've just got to keep battling, going game by game. If there's anything good about a stretch like this, it's that it shows us, me and the coaches, what's underneath, if the players have the mental toughness to keep going. This game is a real grind sometimes."
The IronBirds jumped out to a one-run lead in their first turn at the plate, as DH Alex Murphy cranked out a solo homer, his second of the season.
Aberdeen starter Janser Severino, who had held the hosts to a pair of hits through the first four innings, surrendered the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth on two singles, an error and a wild pitch.
Severino (0-1) went six innings in the loss, striking out eight, walking one, and allowing one earned run.
Hernandez allowed three earned runs on four hits, struck out three and did not allow a walk over two innings.
Aside from Murphy's homer run, the only other IronBirds hit was a single by Oswill Lartiguez.
Aberdeen blanked Tuesday
The Aberdeen IronBirds continued their worst start in club history Tuesday night, losing to the visiting Staten Island Yankees, 4-0, falling to 1-11 on the season.
Aberdeen managed just three hits.
Only one run was scored before the ninth inning when the Yankees got to Aberdeen starter Stefan Crichton for two singles, a steal and a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
Crichton (1-2), who took the loss, left after four innings with two strikeouts, no walks and five hits allowed.
"We've just been having trouble scoring runs, getting men on base," Aberdeen skipper Matt Merullo, who managed the IronBirds to their first McNamara Division crown last season, said after Tuesday's loss. "Our pitching has been great, our defense has been really good, so we just need to figure out a lineup that's going to start turning things around for us."
Alex Santana tossed four innings of scoreless relief for Aberdeen, striking out four and holding the visitors to one hit.
"Santana looked really sharp," Merullo said. "He was mixing his pitches up well, keeping the hitters off stride. He showed a lot of poise and savvy tonight."
With his team trailing by one in the ninth, the IronBirds' Nik Nowottnick allowed three earned runs on three hits and two walks, allowing Staten Island to take a 4-0 lead.
Federico Castagnini accounted for two of the IronBirds three hits, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
"Castagnini was one of the bright spots tonight," Merullo said. "He came off the bench tonight after not getting to play for a few games, and looked really nice at the plate. We're hoping for more performances like that as we go ahead."