Aberdeen, MD- For the third consecutive day, the IronBirds fell at the hands of the Hudson Valley Renegades, as the Renegades completed the sweep of the three-game series.
The IronBirds could not keep pace with the Renegades potent offense, as the Renegades banged out 10 hits, including home runs off the bats of Ariel Soriano and Oscar Hernandez, and won by a final tally of 6-2.
The game initially shaped up as a pitcher's duel, with both IronBirds and Renegades pitching posting zeros through the first three innings.
Early on, IronBirds starter Luc Rennie flashed some strong stuff. After allowing consecutive hits to start the ballgame, Rennie was faced with runners on second and third and nobody out. Rennie, however, wriggled out of the jam with some help from his defense. Renegades cleanup hitter Ariel Soriano grounded a ball softly to IronBirds third baseman Hector Veloz, who astutely fired home. The strong throw gunned down the runner on third, and Rennie was able to dispatch the next two hitters and end the inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, the IronBirds appeared to catch a break. Hudson Valley starter John Farrell, who had retired the first four batters of the ballgame, took a Trey Mancini liner to the shin. Though he did not appear seriously injured and attempted to throw several warm up pitches, Farrell would be forced to leave the game. However, the IronBirds were not able to take advantage against emergency reliever Kevin Brandt, and the game remained scoreless into the fourth.
After setting down the first two men he faced, Rennie ran into trouble in the fourth. Hudson Valley center fielder James Harris doubled off the center field wall, and the next hitter, designated hitter Ryan McChesney, chased him home with a sharp single to center. Rennie escaped further damage, and recorded two outs around a single to center in the fifth before being relieved by Jorge Rivera. Rennie finished with an IronBirds season-high seven strikeouts, allowing just the one run on 5 hits.
It remained a 1-0 contest until the seventh inning. Rivera, still on the mound, issued a leadoff walk. The next batter, Renegades second baseman Ariel Soriano, jumped on the first pitch, lashing an opposite field home run that just cleared the right field fence, making the score 3-0.
The IronBirds offense could not put anything together against Brandt. Brandt stymied the IronBirds, as the 23-year-old North Carolina native allowed just three hits while striking out four and walking none in 4 1/3 strong innings.
The IronBirds again ran into trouble with the long ball in the ninth. After allowing back-to-back singles, neither of which were particularly well-hit, reliever Alex Santana threw Renegades cleanup hitter Oscar Hernandez a fastball that caught a little too much of the plate. Hernandez promptly whacked it over the left field wall, doubling the Renegades' lead.
The IronBirds finally got on the scoreboard in the ninth inning, but it proved to be too little, too late. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, first baseman Trey Mancini, just added to the roster today, blooped a single over the head of the shortstop, scoring both runners and making it a 6-2 game. After walking Anthony Vega, Renegades reliever Jaime Schultz settled down, striking out catcher Austin Wynns to end the game.
The IronBirds go on the road tomorrow, heading to Brooklyn to face the Cyclones for a three-game set. Austin Urban goes for the IronBirds tomorrow at 7:05, while the Cyclones will counter with John Gant.
For ticket information, contact our box office at (410) 297-9292 or visit us online at www.IronBirdsbaseball.com.