May 5—Behind solid pitching and hitting, the Aberdeen IronBirds opened its 2021 season in the win column Tuesday night.
Aberdeen beat host Wilmington, 10-1, at Frawley Stadium in an High-A East minor league baseball game.
Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles 2018 first round draft pick, threw four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks, while striking out five.
Johnny Rizer and Kyle Stowers supplied the long balls, highlighting an 11-hit attack.
The 'Birds jumped on top of the Blue Rocks in the third inning. Maverick Handley singled and later scored on a wild pitch. The run stood for a 1-0 lead through three innings.
It was Handley again in the fifth. Handley walked and came around to score on Adam Hall's groundout.
Aberdeen doubled its 2-0 lead to 4-0 over Wilmington in the sixth. Joe Ortiz tripled and Rizer followed with a two-run shot.
"It felt really good to be back out there playing some baseball in front of a crowd. I just went out there today with a lot of stress off my shoulders because we were lucky enough to be playing again, so I was just having fun with it," Rizer said in a Twitter response. "I was seeing the ball well and was just trying to put good at bats together. It was a great team win overall with dominating pitching and a lot of quality at bats from our offense. A great day overall for the team and excited to see what this year holds."
Wilmington's lone run was also scored in the sixth. A throwing error allowed the unearned run to score.
An inning later, the long ball struck again for the IronBirds. Aberdeen added three runs in seventh, two on Stowers' two-run bomb. Shayne Fontana and Toby Welk scored in the inning.
Aberdeen closed out the win in the ninth with three more runs. A Fontana single and consecutive walks to Hall and Welk loaded the bases. Stowers drove in two with a single and Ortiz, who led the team with three hits, roped a ground-rule double to plate the final run.
The IronBirds also got great relief pitching in the win. Ryan Wilson, a lefty, threw three innings of one-hit ball. He did allow the unearned run and he struck out six.
Garrett Farmer came on to pitch the final two innings. Farmer also gave up one hit, but he shut the Blue Rocks out, striking out three.
All three Aberdeen pitchers threw strikes. Rodriguez threw 63 pitches, 40 strikes; Wilson threw 40 pitches, 29 strikes, and Farmer threw 36 pitches, 26 strikes.
Aberdeen will play in Wilmington again Wednesday with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.