Hobgood, Aberdeen battered, 14-3, to end three-game home set

Top pick in 2009 gives up 9 runs, doesn't finish three innings

(Courtesy Aberdeen IronBirds )
August 02, 2011

Matt Hobgood, Baltimore's first round pick in the 2009 draft, is still learning to pitch in professional baseball. Monday night was another painful lesson for the 20-year-old right handed prospect.

Aberdeen's losses Saturday and Sunday at Ripken Stadium came after strong performances by their starting pitchers. That wasn't the case Monday for the IronBirds as Hobgood suffered another rough outing. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers drubbed the IronBirds, 14-3, as Hobgood was hit hard and heavy, giving up nine runs before being lifted in the third.

The game was mercifully called complete before the ninth as a thunderstorm, which had already delayed the contest for several minutes, briefly knocked out the power at Ripken Stadium. The loss, Aberdeen's fourth straight, dropped the IronBirds to 13-31 on the season, which puts them 9.5 games behind Hudson Valley at the bottom of the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division.

The home game was the last before Aberdeen's five-game road trip, on which the IronBirds will play series with the Lowell Spinners and Hudson Valley Renegades. Leo Gomez, Aberdeen's manager, said his team has to improve most aspects of its game, if it wants to return home with any victories.

"Everything needs to get better," Gomez said. "We need to score some runs. We need to pitch better."

In his third start since joining the IronBirds three weeks ago as part of a rehab assignment, Hobgood, the Baltimore Orioles' first selection of the 2009 MLB draft, surrendered two runs in the first on two singles and a wild pitch. He allowed four more runs in the second on three hits and a walk. In the third, Hobgood was knocked around for three runs on a pair of singles and a two-run homer before he departed. Over his 2-2/3 innings, Hobgood struck out two and walked two.

"It was just one of those nights," Hobgood, who is recovering from an injured rotator cuff discovered during the off-season, said. "I went out and felt good, felt good during the long-toss before the game, and thought I had some good pitches, but I left some pitches up [in the strike zone] as well. That home run was a fastball right down the middle. They came out swinging, hacking. I felt like I had a little bit on my fastball, it just didn't go where I wanted it too."

Hobgood was hitting 88-89 on most of his pitches, according to the scoreboard's radar gun. He occasionally hit 90-91 mph. He also threw an off-speed pitch/breaking ball that ranged from 74-84 mph.

"He didn't have control tonight," Gomez said of his starter. "He was pitching very flat, but sometimes that's going to happen. He didn't have his best stuff, and they took advantage of that."

Aberdeen, which had scored just once in its previous three games, saw some life in its lineup in the third. With the guests already up, 9-0, Martin Serrata started the IronBirds first rally with a two-out double to the gap in left. Next was Kyle Hoppy, who smoked a ground ball single between first and second, driving Serrata home, making the score, 9-1.

The IronBirds went to work again in the bottom of the fourth, with Dudley Leonora led off with a single up the middle. Wynston Sawyer followed with a one-out hit. Mychal Givens followed with a double that kicked up chalk on the right field line, driving Leonora home with Aberdeen's second run. Connor Narron walked to put runners on the corners, Serrata roped a hard single into the right field gap. Sawyer scored easily, but Givens, who ran through Gomez's stop sign at third, was tagged out at the plate after a violent collision with the Scrappers' catcher.

Jose Mota relieved Hobgood in the third and had one of his finest outings of the season, tossing 3-1/3 innings of hitless ball, striking out two and walking two.

Mahoning Valley scored once on reliever Alex Schmarzo in the seventh, then added four more runs to their lead in the eighth on five singles. Over 1-2/3 innings, Schmarzo surrendered five earned runs on seven hits and recorded two strikeouts. Matt Drummond took over in the eighth and got the final out after allowing two singles.

Leonora, who was recently switched to the three-spot in the lineup, went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

"He's been swinging the bat pretty well, and sometimes you need to make moves in the lineup," Gomez said.

Serrata was 2-for-3 with a double, while Hoppy, Sawyer and Givens each had a single in the loss. Narron and Sawyer had Aberdeen's walks..

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