Aberdeen IronBirds starter Tim Adleman carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and pitched seven no-hit innings, and the Aberdeen offense took advantage of key miscues in breaking a five-game losing streak and beating the Staten Island Yankees 6-0 Monday night at Ripken Stadium.
Adleman pitched perfectly for six innings before walking Staten Island centerfielder Eduardo Sosa to lead off the seventh inning. Sosa was quickly erased from the basepaths as Adleman induced a 5-4-3 off the bat of Yankees third baseman Garrison Lassiter. The next batter, rightfielder Kelvin De Leon lined a shot at shortstop that Michael Rooney was not able to handle and was ruled an error. Adleman then struck out first baseman Henry Roller, Adleman’s sixth of the night, an exclamation mark on his seven no-hit innings.
Staten Island’s first hit came courtesy of shortstop Jose Mojica in the top of the eighth off reliever T.R. Keating.
Adleman (2-2, 2.74) locked in with Staten Island starter Mikey O’Brien in a pitching duel early on. Through the first three innings of play, Adleman struck out three Yankees without allowing a hit while O’Brien struck out four IronBirds while allowing only one baserunner, third baseman Sammie Starr, on a first inning walk.
“I tried to mix my pitches and keep them off balance,” Adleman said. “I thought [catcher Joe] Oliveira called a really good game and I thought I had pretty good command of my two-seamer and it felt like it had some movement.”
“It’s fun [catching Adleman],” Oliveira said. “Whatever fingers I put down, I put my glove up and he hits the spot. That’s when it’s fun catching, when you get to think for him and he just makes pitches.”
“He got ahead of hitters and then he was making really good pitches ahead in the count,” manager Gary Kendall said. “He was a joy to watch.”
“The infield was phenomenal tonight,” Adleman said. “It just seems like every ball that was hit, they made a great play.”
The first hit of the game did not come until the bottom of the fourth when IronBirds second baseman Austin Knight led off with a sharp single to left-center field. O’Brien was able to get Starr to popout and leftfielder Kipp Schutz to strike out, but Knight was able to advance to second on a wild pitch during Schutz’s at bat. That set the stage for designated hitter Joel Polanco to line a pitch into right-center field to score Knight and give Aberdeen a 1-0 lead.
Knight along with Oliveira helped pace the IronBirds offense. Knight was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI while Oliveira was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
“It was really neat,” Kendall said. “Austin’s been swinging the bat okay. He’s had a couple tough games where he’s lined out, but for a young kid in this league, he’s done a really good job from the beginning of the season to where he is now.”
Coming into tonight, Oliveira had been struggling, only batting .200. “It feels good,” Oliveira said. “I’m just making adjustments and I can feel those adjustments working out. I’m just going to keep working and hopefully things are going to come around.”
“Joe’s a guy that we’re just waiting for it to click,” Kendall said. “He kind of ignited us a little bit. He gave us a little bit of breathing room with our pitching.”
“It’s there, he just needs to repeat it. He’s going to get more and more opportunities.”
Aberdeen had another chance in the top of the fifth when rightfielder Jeremy Nowak and Oliveira both singled to start the inning. But shortstop Michael Rooney could not lay down a proper sacrifice bunt and Nowak was out at third. Oliveira advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to right by centerfielder Trent Mummey, but Knight flied out to center to end the threat.
Aberdeen tacked on four runs in the bottom of the sixth and chased O’Brien from the game. Starr and Schutz hit back-to-back singles and then first baseman Austin Rauch lifted a fly ball to deep left-center field that Staten Island centerfielder Eduardo Sosa misplayed, allowing Starr to score, Schutz to reach third, and Rauch to end up on second. O’Brien was then lifted from the game to reliever Nathan Forer after 5.1 innings.
Forer promptly struck out Nowak, but then things got dicey during Oliveira’s at bat. Oliveira hit a smash down the left field line that kicked off the wall into no man’s land between Yankees leftfielder Mike Ferraro and Mojica for a double that scored Schutz and Rauch. But Ferraro’s throw back in to the diamond was off-line and Oliveira started to advance to third. Forer gathered the ball in the infield to throw to third, but his throw was errant and into left field, allowing Oliveira to reach home on the play and allowing the IronBirds to break the game open, 5-0. Both Ferraro and Forer were charged with throwing errors on the play.
In his 5.1 innings of work, O’Brien (6-2, 2.14) surrendered four runs (only two earned) on six hits. He walked only one batter and struck out five.
Aberdeen tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh to put the lead at 6-0 when Knight singled after Mummey tripled to right field.
Keating pitched the eighth and ninth inning to end the game, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
The IronBirds close out the two game series with Staten Island Tuesday night when Justin Moore (2-0, 2.52) takes the mound for the IronBirds against Nik Turley (1-2, 6.12) of the Yankees. Moore has not pitched since July 15 at Vermont when he pitched 3.2 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. Turley earned his first victory of the season on July 29 against Connecticut, pitching six innings of five hit ball, allowing three runs (two earned). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.