Trent Mummey (Courtesy Photo)
Aberdeen’s comeback magic was alive on Sunday night as centerfielder Trent Mummey hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a five-run ninth inning to give the IronBirds a 7-3 victory over the Auburn Doubledays and snap a three-game losing streak.
“I was sitting fastball in one spot and he threw it right there,” Mummey said. “I wasn’t really looking to do too much with it. I was just trying to get a base hit. Good things happen and I got a grand slam out of it.”
In the top of the ninth, third baseman Adam Gaylord singled to right field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Michael Flacco. Designated hitter Zach Moore grounded out to put two outs on the board. But rightfielder Jeremy Nowak doubled off of Auburn pitcher Shawn Griffith to score Aberdeen’s Auburn Donaldson, who was pinch-running for Gaylord, and tie the game 3-3.
“I was trying to find a pitch up in the zone,” Nowak said. “I was looking to shorten up a little and put the ball in play. I wasn’t going to help anything by not putting the ball in play.”
David Anderson pinch-hit for catcher Joe Oliveira and was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. Then Griffith issued a four-pitch walk to shortstop Michael Rooney to load the bases for Mummey. Griffith was erratic and Mummey worked the count to 3-1 before Mummey pulled Griffith’s pitch over the right field wall and into the IronBirds bullpen.
“I knew it was gone,” said Mummey, the Orioles’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft from Auburn University. “When I hit it, I hit it pretty solid so I was just excited and ready to get around the bases and celebrate with the team.”
Auburn got to starter Tim Adleman early in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Leadoff batter and second baseman Oliver Dominguez singled to center, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by rightfielder Yeico Aponte, and scored on a single by third baseman Andy Fermin.
Auburn starter Daniel Webb pitched well for the Doubledays, not allowing a base runner over the first three innings while striking out four batters. The IronBirds finally got to Webb in the bottom of the fourth when Mummey led off the inning with a stand-up triple to right-center field. He promptly scored to tie the game at 1-1 on second baseman Austin Knight’s groundout to second that Dominguez bobbled, allowing Knight to reach base safely.
Adleman settled down through the next three innings, not allowing another base runner and striking out five batters. But he ran into more trouble in the top of the fifth inning. Catcher Joseph Bowen led off with a single, the first allowed by Adleman since the first inning. Then first baseman Lance Durham got into an Adleman offspeed pitch, taking it to right-center field and off the ad space under the video board. Despite a two-out walk and stolen base by Dominguez, Adleman was able to escape the inning without any further damage, keeping the score at 3-1 in favor of Auburn.
Aberdeen cut the lead in the half in the bottom of the sixth when Mummey scored for the second time off Webb. He led off the inning with a double down the right field line, advanced to third when Webb balked, and then scored on Knight’s RBI groundout to second.
Webb’s day was done after Knight’s groundout. The 18th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 recorded 5.1 innings of work, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out five IronBirds. Griffith (0-1, 9.31) came in and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing five runs on three hits and three walks.
Adleman was done after a career-high six innings. Despite the impact on the win-loss record, Adleman did have a successful night on the mound. He allowed only five hits and a walk and struck out six batters.
“I thought he pitched well,” manager Gary Kendall said. “Really all he did was get a changeup in the wrong spot to a guy who looked like he was ready for it.”
Adleman was relieved by Will Startup who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings before David Walters (2-0, 0.00) came on for the last 1.1 innings, allowing no hits and striking out two batters to earn the win.
“We usually like to run Walters out with a lead, but we really needed to win a game,” Kendall said.
Mummey was Aberdeen’s most successful batter, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, walk, four RBIs, and three runs scored. Mummey was coming into the game on an 0-for-12 streak.
“Coach gave me a day off yesterday and it seemed to really help,” Mummey said. “I knew my bat speed was up today and I felt good at the plate today. I got some good pitches to hit and was able to do some damage.”
Sunday night was Women’s Appreciation Night at Ripken Stadium and the IronBirds showed their support donning pink wrist bands and an alternate jersey for breast cancer research. The IronBirds jersey closely resembled the striped jerseys the Houston Astros wore in the 1980’s, except instead of having yellow and orange stripes, the alternates had various shades of pink along with white and black stripes.
“I’m not big on the Astro-theme,” Kendall said. “I’d rather went with a solid uniform, but that’s not my call. It brought us luck so maybe we should wear them tomorrow.”
“The jerseys were awesome,” Nowak said. “We liked them a lot. It was a great cause and we were looking good for the great cause.”
“I thought they were outstanding,” Adleman said. “I thought they were pretty sharp.”
“[Today] was awesome,” Nowak said. “On a day for a great cause, it’s a great ending to the day.”
Aberdeen is now 10-13, and the Doubledays have a matching mark. The IronBirds play game two of the three-game set on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at Ripken Stadium. Aberdeen sends righthander Bruno Sanchez (0-1, 8.10 ERA) to the mound against Auburn’s lefthanded Sam Strickland (1-1, 1.23 ERA).