SALISBURY, MD - Alex Wells tossed six scoreless innings and the bullpen took it the rest of the way as the Delmarva Shorebirds pitched their first shutout of the season, blanking the Hagerstown Suns 6-0 on Saturday night in front of a season-high 5,192 at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
Wells (1-1), the Orioles' No. 17 prospect coming into this season, was masterful from the beginning, scattering seven hits over six innings, walking none, and striking out three for his first South Atlantic League win. Weston Davis (0-2) took the loss for the Suns, allowing six runs on seven hits in five innings.
Jake Bray and Zeke McGranahan combined to face the minimum in three scoreless relief innings for the Shorebirds (4-6), and for the fourth time this season Delmarva pitching surrendered no walks, limiting the Suns (6-4) to just nine singles on the night.
Delmarva jumped in front in the bottom of the first inning as Ryan McKenna and Jake Ring led off with back-to-back singles. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch from Davis, and groundouts by Chris Shaw and Collin Woody brought both runs home to put the 'Birds up 2-0.
Hagerstown's best chance to score came in the top of the third. Anderson Franco and Tres Barrera hit back-to-back singles off Wells to lead off, and Daniel Johnson grounded his own base hit into right. Franco rounded third and headed home, but Jake Ring's laser beam from right field nabbed him at the plate. From there, Wells induced a fielder's choice and foulout to get out of the jam.
McKenna singled again to lead off the bottom of the third, and Ring followed up his brilliant defense by lashing a triple to right center, scoring McKenna. Shaw singled home Ring on the next batter, and Woody's double put second on third with nobody out. Preston Palmeiro plated Shaw on a sac fly to right, then after a groundout, Cole Billingsly grounded a single to right to bring around Woody, making it a four-spot in the inning and giving the game its final margin.
Wells stranded two in the fifth and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to preserve the goose egg. Bray then struck out the side in the seventh and got a 4-6-3 double play in the top of the eighth to get him through unscathed. McGranahan gave up a leadoff single in the ninth but managed another double play - both turned by second baseman Alejandro Juvier - and then got Franco to ground out to third, ending the game in a brisk two hours and six minutes.
Ring and McKenna both went 2-for-4 with two runs to lead the Shorebirds at the Plate. Ring's RBI triple give him five extra-base hits in the last three games. Shaw finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs, and Woody's double extends his hitting streak to eight games (10-27).
Franco had two of the four hits for Hagerstown as eight of the Suns' starting nine had hits in the game.
James Bourque pitched three perfect innings in relief of Davis, helping to retire the final 16 Shorebirds to bat in the game.
The Shorebirds go for the series win in game four agains the Suns on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Lucas Humpal (0-0, 0.75) makes his third start for Delmarva against Hagerstown's Carlos Pena (0-0, 6.75). First pitch is 2:05 p.m. with gates opening an hour before first pitch. Sunday is Strike Out Hunger Sunday at Perdue Stadium. Fans who bring two canned food items to the Shorebirds box office will receive upper reserved tickets for $3, and all food items will be donated to area food banks. Sunday is also Kids Run the Bases day presented by Chili's, as all Junior Shorebirds members get to run the bases after the game. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 1:50 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.