Tigers Top Birds 4-1 in Series Opener; Blackmar Tosses 4.1 Scoreless Out of the Pen
NORWICH, CT – The IronBirds dropped the series opener to the Connecticut Tigers on Saturday night, 4-1. Aberdeen plated the first run of the contest in the top of the second inning but the Tigers grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second and tacked a pair of runs in the fourth en route to the victory. With the loss, the IronBirds fell to 0-9 on Saturday games in 2012. In the losing effort, RHP Mark Blackmar tossed 4.1 scoreless frames out of the bullpen.
Following a scoreless first inning, the IronBirds took the lead in the top of the second inning at Dodd Stadium. 3B Torsten Boss led off the frame with an infield single. Boss advanced to second on Sam Kimmel groundout and stole third during Cameron Edman’s at-bat. After Edman struck out swinging, Will Howard stepped to the plate. Howard hit a hard grounder up the middle. After deflecting the groundball, RHP Charlie Gillies quickly fielded and threw to first. Gillies’ throw was high and Howard safe at first. Howard’s infield RBI single scored Boss and gave the IronBirds a one-run lead.
The Birds’ lead would not last long as the Tigers plated two runs on an odd play in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded and Jordan Dean at the plate, LHP Jorge Rivera uncorked a wild pitch. 3B Edgar Corcino scored on the play. As Corcino crossed home, C Scott Kalush’s throw ricocheted off Corcino’s leg. 1B Juaner Aguasvivas came in to score on the Kalush throwing error as the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the second.
Connecticut plated two more runs off LHP Jorge Rivera in the fourth inning to up their lead to 4-1. Rivera exited after 3.2 innings on Saturday night. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits while striking out three and walking four.
Aberdeen struggled to pick up hits following the second inning. LHP Josh Turley retired all nine batters he faced out of the bullpen and the Birds did not notch a hit against RHP Eric Heckaman until his third inning of work. From the second to eighth, the Tigers’ staff retired 18 straight IronBirds.
RHP Joe Rogers closed out the ninth inning for the Tigers en route to his third save of the year.
Josh Turley (3-0) picked up the win out the Connecticut bullpen while Jorge Rivera (0-2) got the loss.
Out of the IronBirds’ bullpen, Mark Blackmar tossed 4.1 scoreless frames. He allowed one hit, walked none, and struck out four.
The IronBirds and Tigers will play game two of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon in Norwich, CT. RHP Brady Wager (0-2, 7.59) will take the hill for Aberdeen while Connecticut will turn to LHP Hua-Wei Lo (2-2, 2.57). First pitch from Dodd Stadium is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. with coverage on the IronBirds Radio Network beginning at 3:50 p.m.