HAGERSTOWN -- A year has made a major difference in the fortunes of the Orioles minor-league affiliates.
In 1997, five of them qualified for postseason play and three won championships. In 1998, there are no more survivors.
The Hagerstown Suns insured that last night at Municipal Stadium, eliminating Delmarva in the first round of the South Atlantic League playoffs, 4-0, behind left-hander Clayton Andrews.
Hagerstown, a Toronto Blue Jays farm club, whipped the Shorebirds for the 10th time in 14 meetings at its home park and advanced to the semifinals against an opponent to be determined.
Even phenom Matt Riley, perhaps the top pitching prospect in the Orioles' system, couldn't save the day for Delmarva, which won the Northern Division's second-half title with a victory here last Sunday.
The Suns nicked him for two runs before Riley departed after allowing seven hits in six innings. He has been bothered by a tender lower back.
"I thought Matt was a little tentative at first, but getting into the third and fourth inning, he was throwing the way he had all year," Shorebirds pitching coach Dave Schmidt said.
Greg Morrison chopped a single through the middle to drive home the game's first run in the second inning and a bad-hop single by Josh Phelps made it 2-0 in the sixth.
Shorebirds manager Dave Machemer was thumbed from the game by umpire Brian Phillips in the fifth inning after arguing a call on a pickoff attempt at first base. The play did not affect the outcome.
"I just have to give credit to their pitching," Machemer said. "I felt confident going into this series the way we had been hitting, but [John] Sneed and Andrews threw very well and that was the story."
Pub Date: 9/02/98