ABERDEEN, Md. – In a must-win situation tonight to force a third and deciding game in the South Atlantic League championship series, the O’s High-A Aberdeen club got it done with big offense at Ripken Stadium.
Aberdeen never trailed, scoring once in the first, three in the second and five runs in the fourth on its way to a 13-6 win over Bowling Green. After the IronBirds lost the series opener 5-3 on the road Sunday, the SAL championship is now even at 1-1 and set for a Wednesday night Game 3 showdown in Aberdeen.
If the IronBirds win the title, it would be the first by an O’s affiliate since Double-A Bowie won the Eastern League in 2015.
Tonight, Aberdeen took a first-inning lead when Dylan Beavers walked, stole second and scored on Jud Fabian’s two-out single to left. In the last of the second, Aberdeen got a pair of singles with two outs and then Beavers hit his first homer at the High-A level. The No. 33 overall pick in the 2022 draft by the Orioles drilled a three-run shot to right for a 4-0 lead.
After Bowling Green scored twice in the third off right-hander Jean Pinto, Aberdeen took control of this game with five runs in the last of the fourth. Billy Cook’s two run single made it 6-2 and Heston Kjerstad tripled in two runs to right, and scored on the play himself on a throwing error for the 9-2 margin.
Aberdeen added three in the sixth on Kjerstad's sac fly and Max Wagner's two-run double. The 2022 draft picks - Beavers, Wagner and Fabian - combined for seven RBIs. Kjerstad added three.
That was more than enough to send Aberdeen to a win. After their first-ever playoff series victory in three games over Brooklyn in the league semifinals, tomorrow night they shoot for another three-game series win in which they lost Game 1 and then won two in a row at home.
If they get it, Aberdeen will be the 2022 South Atlantic League champions.