Norfolk Tides split doubleheader with Indianapolis
In the opener, Norfolk trailed the contest 2-0 before a three-run sixth inning rally gave the Tides a comeback win.
Austin Hays opened up the sixth frame with a triple off of Dovydas Neverauskas (3-2), and Ryan Mountcastle followed with a single that brought the Tides within 2-1. After back-to-back walks loaded the bases with nobody out, Neverauskas induced a 1-2-3 double play to put runners on second and third with two out. Adema Rifaela then singled to right field, plating Mason Williams and Zach Vincej to give the Tides a 3-2 advantage.
Dillon Tate made the lead hold up, working around a leadoff single to earn the save in his Triple-A debut. Matt Wotherspoon (5-2) earned his team-leading fifth victory of the season with two shutout innings of relief.
Ty Blach, who was claimed by the Orioles from the Giants last week, made his organizational debut as the starter in the opener. He allowed two runs on four hits over 2.1 innings of work, walking two and striking out four while throwing 38 of his 61 pitches for strikes. Blach yielded both of his runs with two outs in the first frame, as Jake Elmore scored on a wild pitch and Will Craig scored on a single from Kevin Kramer.
In game two, Mason Williams continued his hot hitting with a home run as part of a two-hit contest, but the Indians held off the Tides 3-2.
Williams knotted the contest with a solo homer off of Eduardo Vera in the fourth inning, his 15th round tripper of the season. Williams – who also singled and walked in the opener – has now hit safely in 20 consecutive games at Harbor Park, the longest by a Tide since Norfolk became an Orioles affiliate in 2007. The 27-year-old outfielder has now hit safely in nine straight games and 40 of his last 46, upping his average to .310 this season.
Norfolk starter Chandler Shepherd (1-10) took the tough-luck loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits over six innings of work. Shepherd, the reigning International League Pitcher of the Week, struck out one batter in each of his six frames while issuing just one walk. The game was tied 2-2 entering the sixth, but Ke’Bryan Hayes reached on a two-out error before Jason Martin plated him with a double off the right-center field wall.
Jake Brentz (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, while Montana DeRapau pitched a scoreless seventh to earn his ninth save of the season.
The game two setback snapped Norfolk’s winning streak at five games. That five-game run ties the longest winning streak the Tides have put together this season, matching a stretch from April 30 – May 4.
The Tides will welcome in the Syracuse Mets to Harbor Park on Friday night for the first of a three-game set. Bruce Zimmermann (0-1, 6.30) is slated to start for Norfolk and will be opposed by right-hander Harol Gonzalez (1-0, 3.65).
On Friday, the first 2,500 fans will get a Tidewater Tides hat, presented by Norfolk International Airport and 10 On Your Side. In a special pregame ceremony, David Wright, Sam Allen, Wayne Gomes and Tony Guzzo will be inducted into the Tidewater Baseball Shrine.