Shorebirds gain early lead on Salisbury (Birds win 2-1)

SALISBURY, Md. - After three innings of tonight's exhibition game at Perdue Stadium, Delmarva has a 2-1 lead on Salisbury University.

Delmarva took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first. Glynn Davis led off with an infield single, stole second and third bases, and later scored on a Wynston Sawyer sac fly.

Salisbury tied the game with a run in the top of the second before Delmarva moved ahead in the last of the third. John Ruettiger was hit by a pitch to lead the inning and then stole two bases before scoring on a Gabriel Lino RBI single to center. Mychal Givens flied out deep to center to strand the bases loaded in the Birds' third frame.

The game started in strange fashion when Shorebirds third baseman Jason Esposito, said to be a solid defender at third base, made two errors on the game's first two pitches. But Jake Cowan pitched out of that jam without any Sea Gull runs scoring.

Believe it or not, Esposito made another error in the top of the fourth when he dropped a soft liner hit his way.

Zach Davies, the Orioles' 26th-round pick out of an Arizona high school last June, gave up two hits and a run in the second. Lefty Zach Fowler pitched a 1-2-3 third for Delmarva. Trent Howard has come on to pitch in the top of the fourth.

After this tuneup tonight, the Shorebirds will bus to Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday to open the season the next night when Dylan Bundy will get the start, making his professional debut.

It's a final: Delmarva went on to beat Salisbury 2-1 in a game where the Shorebirds made four errors, stole 10 bases and left 13 men on base. Yes, it was a sloppy exhibition game this evening in Salisbury.

Some impressions, as I overanalyze a game that didn't count. Drove all this way, might as well.

* Ruettiger, the Orioles' eighth-round pick last June, went 2-for-2 with a hit by pitch and walk along with three stolen bases. He and Glynn Davis could make for a nice speed combination at the top of the Shorebirds order this year.

* Trent Howard pitched scoreless ball in the fourth, Devin Jones in the fifth and Williams Louico in the sixth for Delmarva. Louico, who turns 22 in eight days, is from Haiti and pitched in the Dominican Summer League the last four years. He flashed a nice fastball, touching 93 and 94 mph a few times.

I got to see the legend of Jose Nivar in person for the first time as he pitched a 1-2-3 seventh on a strikeout and two grounders to close out the win. He is a converted outfielder that started pitching late in the 2010 season. The right-hander has reportedly touched triple digits a few times. He topped at 95 mph once tonight.

* It was a tough night for second-round pick Esposito out of Vanderbilt. He made three errors in the first four innings at third base and went 0-for-3 at bat.

* Givens, who is expected to start at short this year for the Birds, did tonight and went 2-for-3 after a strong winter ball season in Australia, where he hit .352 in 41 games for Perth with 13 doubles, five homers, 18 RBIs and a .934 OPS.

Check for more on Dylan Bundy in the morning in this space as I unload my Bundy notebook/quotebook before making my next stop on this tour and heading to Norfolk to cover tomorrow's game between the Orioles and Tides.

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