The Jamestown Jammers pulled off a three-game sweep of the Aberdeen IronBirds on Friday night at Ripken Stadium behind yet another strong pitching performance and good use of timely hitting, winning 3-2.
“It was a close game and well-pitched,” manager Gary Kendall said.
Jamestown jumped out to an early lead for the second straight night on Friday, scoring two runs in the top of the first off of Aberdeen starter Scott Copeland. Shortstop Danny Black tripled down the right field line with one out and then scored on second baseman Noah Perio’s sacrifice fly to center. Then designated hitter Marcell Ozuna and third baseman Ryan Fisher put together back-to-back doubles to put Jamestown up 2-0.
Copeland allowed a one-out double by catcher Wilfredo Gimenez in the top of the second, but used heads up defense to get Gimenez out at third base and then escaped the inning. The Southern Mississippi product settled down enough to record a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third and another perfect frame in the fourth.
In the bottom of the third, Aberdeen cut Jamestown’s lead in half off starter Holden Sprague. Designated hitter Jeremy Nowak, who came into the evening struggling with a .183 batting average, singled to right, but rightfielder Harold Brantley, Jr. bobbled the ball, allowing Nowak to safely slide into second. Shortstop Michael Rooney failed to advance Nowak to third on a bunt, but centerfielder Trent Mummey came through with a single to left to score Nowak.
Aberdeen tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on a one-out, solo home run by first baseman David Anderson off Sprague. The blast to deep left-center field was Anderson’s team-leading seventh of the year.
Copeland (1-5, 3.33) ran into trouble in the top of the fifth and Jamestown took a 3-2 lead. Gimenez broke Copeland’s streak of seven consecutive batters retired by leading off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Brantley hit a one-out single to move Gimenez to second. Black was poised to do more damage against the IronBirds, but Mummey made a fantastic diving catch in center to rob Black of a hit. But the next batter, Perio, singled into right to score Gimenez and give Jamestown the 3-2 lead.
Aberdeen chased Sprague with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Third baseman Adam Gaylord reached on an error by Fisher to start the inning and then rightfielder Blair Dunlap drew a two-out walk. That was all for Sprague. For the night, he gave up two runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Grant Dayton relieved Sprague and struck out Nowak to end the Aberdeen threat.
Copeland’s line for the night was six innings of three-run ball on seven hits. He struck out two batters and did not issue a walk.
“I try to go out there and get my sinker working and get ground balls,” Copeland said. “Just pound the strike zone.”
“He’s got some tough losses,” Kendall said. “Certainly you like to win, but as long as he goes out there and pitches well, that’s the main thing. That’s about development. He’s just gotta keep going out there and competing and good things will happen as long as he keeps doing that.”
“My changeup’s been helping me a lot,” Copeland said. “Like tonight against all them lefties, kept them off balance a little bit and just threw strikes mostly.”
“I like to watch him pitch because he’s a competitor,” Kendall said.
Righthander Clayton Schrader, a 10th-round pick from San Jacinto College, made his professional debut for the IronBirds in the game. Schrader pitched a scoreless seventh inning where he issued a one-out walk and steal, but he got Black to pop out to Rooney at shortstop and Rooney doubled the runner off second base to end the inning.
“It’s a lot different with a batter in there,” Schrader said. “You’re forced to throw strikes this time and it’s in the game and you don’t have any second chances.”
“I had some jitters, I won’t lie,” Schrader said. “I’ve pitched in front of bigger crowds than this, but now it’s professional baseball so it’s not just a sport anymore.”
The seventh was the only inning Schrader saw, as Jason Gurka came in to pitch the eighth and struck out the side before giving up one hit and striking out one in the ninth.
Aberdeen attempted to mount another late-inning comeback, as Gaylord smacked a one-out double and Anderson walked, but Dunlap grounded into a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat with Jamestown still ahead 3-2.
Jordan Conley pitched the ninth for Jamestown to earn his eighth save.
The IronBirds begin a six-game roadtrip Saturday night with a three game set against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The Scrappers are currently in last place in the Pinckney Division with an 18-29 record. The IronBirds plan to send Tyler Sexton (1-4, 7.68) to the mound in game one against Mike Rayl (0-4, 3.16). Game two plans to feature Tim Adleman (2-2, 2.74) against Owen Dew (1-2, 2.53), and game three has Justin Moore (3-0, 3.00) slated against Casey Gaynor (3-2, 5.11).
After the three games in Mahoning Valley, Aberdeen travels to Batavia to take on the Muckdogs. Currently the Muckdogs sit in third place in the Pinckney Division with a 27-19 record. The IronBirds are slated to start Bruno Sanchez (2-3, 4.45) in game one, Justin Anderson (3-3, 5.48) in game two, and Scott Copeland (1-4, 3.15) in game three. The Batavia starters have not been announced yet.
Aberdeen returns to Ripken Stadium on August 13 to begin a three-game series with the State College Spikes.