It took 10 innings Wednesday night, but the Aberdeen IronBirds dropped a 2-1 contest to the Brooklyn Cyclones at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
The loss was the fifth in six games for the ‘Birds, who fall to 5-7. Aberdeen will try to take game three, set for Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at the stadium.
The score was deadlocked 1-1 after nine innings and per minor league rules, the extra innings will begin with the last batter out the previous inning starting at second base.
For Brooklyn, Luke Ritter started at second and Nic Gaddis sacrificed him to third with a bunt that went 5-3.
Ranfy Adon followed with a fly ball to deep center off IronBirds reliever Jake Lyons, plating Ritter with the go-ahead run.
Lyons, the Baltimore Orioles 22and round pick from Oklahoma State, also allowed a single, but struck out the final batter.
Aberdeen’s half of the inning saw catcher Maverick Handley start at second base. Luke Ringhofer tried unsuccessfully twice to bunt Handley over, but he did come from the 0-2 hole to draw a walk.
Clay Fisher then put down the bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Trey Truitt followed and with one swing, just missed walking the ”Birds off, but his long drive sailed foul.
Two pitches later, Truitt was hit in the head by a Yeudy Colon pitch. That loaded the bases and Truitt was pinch run for by Tristan Graham.
Andrew Fregia then lifted a fly ball to medium depth center field. Adon made the catch and Handley took off from third with the tie run. Adon’s throw was perfect, shooting down Handley by three steps.
Aberdeen manager Kevin Bradshaw addressed the situation after the game. “Sure, I was thinking of that, but he just got here a few days ago and I don’t really know how he runs,” Bradshaw said on deciding to let Handley run for himself. “By asking some other people that have played with him, he’s a good base runner and you know, if I had to do it over, I might change putting a runner in for him, but also I need him in the game. The way he caught tonight, his energy, I’d liked to have him in the game if we tied this up. A lot of if’s, but I’d probably do it the same way tomorrow night.”
The game was a pitchers battle. Both teams used four pitchers with the Cyclones out-hitting the IronBirds, 6-3.
Kevin Magee made the start for Aberdeen and though he gave up five hits, it was one pitch that did him in. Joe Genord took that pitch off the top of the wall in left and over for a solo home run leading off the fourth.
Magee worked four innings, walking one and striking out four.
Three relievers went two innings each and all pitched well. Moises Nolasco walked one and struck out two.
Connor Gillespie (9th round, VCU) made his professional debut, retiring all six batters, four by strikeout.
“Really it was just about being locked in, really. I was real fired up, you know, it was my first outing in the pros, that definitely had a factor, too,” Gillespie said. “I was just locating, doing what I’ve been doing pretty muck since college. I really only threw fastball and slider, I didn’t mix in my curve ball or change-up. It was working, so I was like, I’m going to roll with what I’m working with.”
Offensively, Aberdeen’s lone run, unearned, crossed the plate in the fifth.
Fregia doubled with one out and came around to score with two outs when Jaylen Ferguson’s grounder wide of first was bobbled and then thrown away.
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Truitt also doubled and Kyle Stowers, the Orioles third pick overall, singled in his first professional at bat.