Aberdeen, MD- The IronBirds fell behind early and found themselves unable to recover despite a furious late rally, losing to the Williamsport Crosscutters 8-6 on Autism Awareness Night.
IronBirds starter Janser Severino found himself in trouble from the first batter of the game, walking Crosscutters leadoff man Gustavo Martinez. Three hits and two walks (including a bases loaded walk to third baseman Zach Green) later, the IronBirds found themselves in a 4-0 hole before coming to bat.
For the second straight game, Jared Breen led off the bottom of the first inning with a hit. The solid single up the middle extended Breen's hit streak to 16 games, one short of the IronBirds' record set by future major leaguer Brandon Fahey in 2002. However, Breen would be caught attempting to steal second, and the IronBirds would not score in the inning.
The Crosscutters, meanwhile, would tack on two more runs in the third, knocking Severino out of the game. It was a rough outing for Severino: in 2.2 innings, he allowed six earned runs, walked four, and left with the IronBirds trailing 6-0.
The IronBirds would chip away, plating single runs in the third and fourth innings. However, they missed opportunities to add on, stranding a runner at third in both frames.
In the top half of the fifth, the Crosscutters would load the bases with two out, as IronBirds reliever Alex Santana walked the bases loaded. However, David Richardson would come on to retire Gustavo Martinez and escape the jam and keep the IronBirds in the ballgame.
In the bottom of the fifth, the IronBirds would cut the 4-run deficit in half. Breen led off with another single. Kris Richards knocked him in with a double to the right-center field gap, and Richards would come around to score on a Conor Bierfeldt RBI single. A 6-0 deficit had been trimmed to 6-4.
The Crosscutters added a run in the sixth, but the IronBirds would continue to chip away. With two down the seventh inning, Trey Mancini doubled, and Conor Bierfeldt tripled him home. Mike Yastrzemski followed with a two-out knock of his own, a single to right, and suddenly the margin stood at only one.
Unfortunately, the IronBirds would be unable to draw even. The Crosscutters tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, making the score 8-6.
The IronBirds went down in order in the eighth. In the ninth, Breen worked a one-out walk, but Crosscutters' reliever Lee Ridenhour recovered, retiring the next two batters to end the game. The loss drops the IronBirds to 14-12 on the year. Additionally, Hudson Valley won their matchup with State College, 4-2, meaning the IronBirds no longer hold a share of first place in the McNamara Division.
The 'Birds will try to salvage the final game of the series tomorrow, handing the ball to LHP Steven Brault (1-0, 1.02 ERA), while the Crosscutters will counter with RHP Julio Reyes (1-0, 5.28 ERA).
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.