By: Michael Marcantonini
The Aberdeen IronBirds’ push for a second-half division title gained steam as they won seven of nine games on their recent homestand from Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 23. The IronBirds took two of three from the Wilmington Blue Rocks and after an off day, followed
By: Michael Marcantonini
The Aberdeen IronBirds’ push for a second-half division title gained steam as they won seven of nine games on their recent homestand from Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 23. The IronBirds took two of three from the Wilmington Blue Rocks and after an off day, followed with five wins in six days against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The IronBirds improved to 16-7 in the second half, just a half-game out of first place.
The homestand started with a bang as the IronBirds ripped 17 hits en route to a 15-2 win in Game 1 over the Blue Rocks. It was the third time in five games that the Birds scored at least 15 runs. All nine starters had at least one hit and four players had multiple RBI. Creed Willems went 3-for-5 with a 2B, HR and a career-high 5 RBI while Max Wagner had his first-career four-hit game with four runs and two stolen bases. The bats cooled down in Game 2, but the Birds picked up a 3-2 win. Beavers and Isaac De Leon each had two hits and three pitchers allowed only two runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts. Game 3 went to the Blue Rocks, 2-1, as the Birds managed just three hits on the day.
Rested and ready after an off day, the IronBirds welcomed in the Hot Rods in a rematch of last season’s South Atlantic League championship series, and won Game 1, 4-3. Beavers belted a go-ahead solo homer to right-center with two outs in the seventh and the bullpen held the lead. Dan Hammer stuck out the side in the eighth and Carson Carter worked a scoreless ninth for the save. The Birds added a 7-1 win in Game 2 behind seven two-out runs and a dominant effort from three pitchers. Beavers paced the offense with three hits and three other added two each, including Maxwell Costes, who blasted a three-run home run and one of Aberdeen’s six doubles. Juan Nunez, Jared Beck and Ryan Hennen held the Hot Rods to just two hits, and none after the second inning.
The IronBirds kept it going with a 5-2 win in Game 3 as Cameron Weston and Daniel Lloyd combined for 16 strikeouts and only one walk. Weston fanned a career-high nine batters in five innings while Lloyd tied his career-high with seven punchouts, with only one walk in four shutout innings of relief. Beavers stole home in the first inning to set the tone and Costes’ three-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning was the difference. The Birds made it four in a row with a 2-1 win in Game 4, after Ryan Higgins smacked a walkoff RBI double off the right-field wall in the bottom of the 10th. Trace Bright pitched five shutout innings in relief with nine strikeouts, no walks, and only one hit allowed. Kyle Brnovich started and struck out seven in four innings of one-run ball, and Dylan Heid pitched a scoreless top of the 10th.
The Hot Rods ended the Birds’ winning streak with a 3-1 win of their own in Game 5. Neither team scored after the fifth inning in another pitcher’s duel, and the IronBirds scored their only run on a wild pitch in the fourth. Frederick Bencosme had three of Aberdeen’s 11 hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. The Birds brushed off the loss quickly and responded with an 8-4 win in Game 6 on Sunday afternoon. The Birds scored all eight of their runs from the third through fifth innings and took advantage of three Hot Rods errors. Silas Ardoin led the way with a two-run homer, Luis Valdez added two hits and an RBI, and Higgins picked up two more RBI.
The IronBirds open a six-game road series against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws on Tuesday before they return home for six against the Hickory Crawdads from Tuesday through Sunday, August 1-6. The first five games are scheduled for 7:05 pm with the Sunday series finale set for 2:05 pm. The IronBirds have 18 home games remaining in the regular season. For more information on upcoming promotions and to purchase tickets, head over to ironbirdsbaseball.com.