An impressive night on the farm: Three shutouts

The excellent pitching we've seen from Orioles minor leaguers so far this season continued in a stunning way on Wednesday afternoon and evening. All four O's affiliates won, three via a shutout. The four starting pitchers combined to pitch 23 scoreless innings.

The O's four clubs are off to a combined 18-9 start.

Jake Arrieta started for Norfolk in a 9-0 win over Charlotte. Steve Johnson started for Bowie in a 1-0, 12-inning win over Harrisburg. Rick Zagone was on the hill for Frederick's 6-0 win over Myrtle Beach and Jake Cowan for Delmarva's 9-4 win over Greensboro.

The four starters:
Norfolk's Jake Arrieta: 7IP, 3H, 0R, 2B, 5K.
Bowie's Steve Johnson: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 3B, 6K.
Frederick's Rick Zagone: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 1B, 6K.
Delmarva's Jake Cowan: 6IP, 6H, 0R, 2B, 6K.

TOTALS: 23IP, 13H, 0R, 8B, 23K.

Arrieta has pitched 12 scoreless innings on six hits in his first two starts for Triple-A. Johnson has allowed seven hits in 10 shutout innings in two starts at Double-A. He leads the Eastern League with 12 strikeouts. Zagone has allowed just one earned run in nine innings so far and Cowan is 1-0, 1.80 in two starts.

Each team is getting good pitching so far-
3.43 - Norfolk's ERA is 6th in the International League
1.69 - Bowie's ERA is 2nd in the Eastern League
1.84 - Frederick's ERA is 1st in the Carolina League
3.54 - Delmarva's ERA is 7th in the South Atlantic League.

Also, Frederick's bullpen has worked to an ERA of 1.42 on the year, allowing just 4 ER over 25 1/3.

Team records:
Norfolk is 3-4, Bowie is 6-1, Frederick is 4-2 and Delmarva is 5-2.

Matt Hobgood makes his second start of the season tonight when Delmarva plays at Greensboro.

Towson University product Gary Helmick hit two homers with 5 RBI Wednesday for Delmarva and Joe Mahoney had 4 RBI in Frederick's win and has 11 RBI on the season.

By the way, the Delmarva Shorebirds tonight go for their 1,000th all-time win. It's their 15th anniversary season and they are sitting on 999 wins after Wednesday. Delmarva's 5-2 start is all the more impressive because they have opened on the road. The Shorebirds play their home opener Friday night at Perdue Stadium.

The Birds first year was 1996 and they were a Montreal Expos affiliate. They won championships representing the Orioles in 1997 and 2000.

Coming later today: Tonight's starter, David Hernandez, talks about pitching in his home state of California.


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