(Courtesy Aberdeen IronBirds )
The IronBirds failed to score until the bottom of the ninth Thursday night at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen and lost their second straight to the Connecticut Tigers.
With the 10-2 loss, Aberdeen fell to 22-43 on the year, and through Thursday's contest the IronBirds were in the cellar of the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division.
"We have two weeks left, and you just have to tell the guys to keep playing hard," Aberdeen skipper Leo Gomez said after Thursday's game. "That's something I've been telling these guys all year. You have to fight back again. We had a tough loss last night, and tonight, we didn't pitch good. We struggled today pitching, but that's part of the game. You just have to put games like this behind you and come back tomorrow, try to find a way to win."
The IronBirds lone scoring rally came in their final turn at the plate, which Kyle Hoppy started by earning a walk. Glynn Davis followed with a hard grounder to the right side of the infield that was fielded by the Tigers' third baseman, who sent his throw into right field, allowing Hoppy to reach third and Davis to reach second. Austin Knight hit an RBI groundout to short that pushed Hoppy home from third, and Mychal Givens followed with a sacrifice fly to center on which Davis tagged and scored his team's final run.
The Tigers jumped all over Aberdeen starter Jose Mota, taking him deep in the first frame with one runner on to run up a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Connecticut got to Mota for another run on two singles and a double, while in the following frame the Tigers went up 3-0 with two singles and a walk. The visitors hung two more runs on Mota in the fourth, scoring on two doubles and two base hits.
Mota exited after fourth having allowed six earned runs on 11 hits, struck out three and walked one.
After throwing a perfect fifth, Aberdeen reliever Zach Fowler was touched up for three runs, two of which were earned, as Connecticut worked him for a walk and two singles, while also taking advantage of a pair of passed balls. Fowler returned in the seventh with another perfect frame in the seventh, retiring the side on a pop fly and two groundouts.
In the eighth, Connecticut's Dean Green cranked a one-out triple off of Aberdeen pitcher Matt Drummond, then made the score 10-0 when he made it home on a grounder to Joe Velleggia at first.
Aberdeen's Travis Strong came out of the bullpen in the ninth and got out of the frame unscathed, striking out one hitter and surrendering a single.
The IronBirds were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"Tonight, we had 10 hits, but we couldn't get a run across," Gomez said. "We need to improve that. We need to get on base, and when we get men on base, we need to do the job and bring them home. Mostly, we just need to put men on base if we want to win. Tonight, we hit too many singles."