Aberdeen, MD- Steven Brault and David Richardson combined to toss a one-hit shutout in a rain shortened contest against the Brooklyn Cyclones. The IronBirds took game one of the two-game set 3-0.
Brault got the start, pitching 5.2 innings. He gave up just one hit and walked four batters. He got through the first two innings perfect before pitching his way out of a jam in the third. With runners on second and third and two down, he struck out Gavin Cecchini to keep the Cyclones off the board.
Richardson came in the game in relief, recording the final out in the sixth. He pitched 2.1 innings total and allowed no hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Conor Bierfeldt led the IronBirds offense with two clutch RBI singles, both with two outs.
The IronBirds offense struck early with runs in the first and second innings. They manufactured a run in the first frame after a lead-off single by Sam Kimmel. Manager Matt Merullo's decision to put him in motion paid off as Kristopher Richardson grounded into what would have been a sure 6-4-3 double play. Kimmel moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Bierfeldt.
Trey Mancini led off the second inning with a double and Jared Breen followed with another double down the right field line to drive Mancini in. Bierfeldt picked up his second RBI on a single in the sixth. Kristopher Richards was hit by a pitch and advanced to second later on a wild pitch. He scored from second on Bierfeldt's single through the left side of the infield.
After giving up a run in the first and second innings, Cyclones righty John Gant gave IronBirds hitters fits throughout the night. He went through the third, fourth and fifth innings allowing just one base runner on an error. He struck out six in that period. Gant pitched six innings giving up three earned runs on six hits and finished with 10 strikeouts overall.
The start of the game was delayed twenty minutes for rain. A down pour hit Ripken Stadium just before the start of the bottom half of the eighth, forcing the grounds crew to pull the tarp. The game was called after a half hour wait.
Tomorrow's game is scheduled for a 7:05 start. Sebastian Vader is scheduled to get the start for the IronBirds. Brooklyn will send Carlos Valdez to the mound.