The Aberdeen IronBirds had a long but good day on Friday.
The ‘Birds finished Thursday’s sequel with a victory, 7-6, over the Wilmington Blue Rocks, then after a weather delay of an hour and 22 minutes, won again, 6-3, in seven innings, High -A South Atlantic League. match at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
In Game 2, the ‘Birds (61-38 overall, 18-15 in the second half) took the lead in the first inning.
TT Bowens doubled to the left center field wall, tackling Heston Kjerstad.
Aberdeen starter Chayce McDermott, who was acquired in the Orioles trade from Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros, was sharp in an innings of work. Blue Rocks leadoff hitter Ricardo Mendez reached base on catcher interference, but McDermott retired the team on his Aberdeen debut.
McDermott did not return to the mound after the delay.
“In Game 2 we only got to see McDermott for one inning due to the weather and he was electric in his only working inning. Retired 3 of the 4 batters he faced. I can’t wait to see him back on the mound,” said Aberdeen manager Roberto Mercado. “After the hour and a half delay, Ricky Ramirez came in and threw four solid innings for us. [Darell] Hernaiz had a great day at the plate with a 3 for 4.”
Ramirez (W, 3-0) took over and the Blue Rocks (51-48) scored twice against him in the third. Jordan Barley’s bunt single opened the inning and he stole second base. A Mendez single (2 for 3) scored Barley. The Blue Rocks added a second run with two outs as Onix Vega and Yasel Antuna hit back-to-back singles.
Aberdeen, however, also scored twice to regain the lead. Kjerstad, who went 0-for-3 to snap a 10-game hitting streak, reached a defenseman’s pick to tackle Isaac Bellony. Kjerstad then scored on a wild pitch.
Ramirez (7H, 2R, 2K) pitched two scoreless innings to end his four-inning effort.
The ‘Birds gave him more support in the fifth. Bellony hit a brace and Kjerstad drove it in with a sacrifice fly down the middle.
“I really worked with some new drills this week and as always ready for that fastball and if I recognize the breaking ball I make an adjustment,” Bellony said.
Aberdeen had not finished scoring. Donta’ Williams reached on an error to open the sixth and Trendon Craig added a single. With two away, Hernaiz scored both with a brace.
Nick Richmond threw a scoreless sixth and Xavier Moore gave up a solo home run to Mendez in the seventh.
Thursday’s game, which started in Wilmington and was postponed due to rain, had the Blue Rocks ahead, 5-3, in the top of the fifth.
Aberdeen had second and first runners before play was suspended.
When play resumed, Williams was hit by a pitch to charge the bases.
A wild throw from Richard Guasch allowed Collin Burns to score. Craig then scored two runs with a single, giving Aberdeen the lead, 6-5.
The ‘Birds added a big insurance run in the seventh as Bowens delivered an RBI single to the Hernaiz plate.
The point proved important as Wilmington scored a run in the eighth, but that was it.
Houston Roth (7-3) pitched 3 2/3 innings of solid baseball for the victory. Roth allowed five hits, three walks and a run, while striking out two.
Thomas Girard pitched the final inning and a third for his first save.
“Great work tonight by Houston Roth and Thomas Girard in Game 1,” Mercado said. “With the bases loaded, Girard came in and induced a weak ground ball to get out of a block. In the 9th, he started a 1-6-3 double play that ended any threat from Wilmington. The big team wins. The guys were locked in even though it was a long day.
The ‘Birds and Blue Rocks meet for Game 5 of the series Saturday at 6:05 p.m. at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The series finale is set for 2:05 p.m. Sunday at the stadium.