Four Rochester Homers Offset Hays' Effort
Austin Hays homered and drove in three, but the Rochester Red Wings belted four home runs to top the Tides 11-4 in the opener of a four-game set Monday night at Harbor Park.
Hays hit a solo homer in the sixth, an RBI single in the seventh and an RBI double in the ninth to help pace Norfolk's 10-hit attack. Rated as the #5 prospect in the Orioles system by MLB.com, Hays has now registered two home runs and driven in eight runs over his last four contests.
After three scoreless innings to open the contest, the Red Wings got to Norfolk starter Keegan Akin (4-3) in the fourth frame. Jaylin Davis put the Wings on the board with a two-out RBI single, and Zander Wiel followed with a two-run homer to put Rochester on top, 3-0.
The Wings broke the game open two innings later with five runs off of Tides reliever Josh Lucas. Wiel connected on another two-run homer to up Rochester's lead to 5-0, and Drew Maggi later added a three-run blast in the frame that gave the Wings an 8-0 advantage.
Making his first appearance since he started the Triple-A All-Star Game, Akin took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits over five innings of work. The 24-year-old southpaw struck out six to up his season total to 95, moving him past Bowie's Michael Baumann for the most strikeouts recorded by an Orioles minor leaguer this season.
Rochester starter Devin Smeltzer (1-1) earned the win after allowing a run on three hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out eight while throwing 70 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
Davis capped the scoring with a three-run homer off of Zach Muckenhirn in the ninth inning.
Mason Williams had a pair of hits and drew a walk for Norfolk, giving him hits in 14 of his last 15 contests. Christopher Bostick added a pair of hits in the setback, while Austin Wynns added an RBI single.
The two teams will continue their four-game set on Tuesday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch set for 7:05. Dan Straily (1-0, 2.30) is set to start for Norfolk and be opposed by right-hander Sean Poppen (5-0, 2.39). Poppen, a Harvard University product, attended Cape Henry Collegiate High School in Virginia Beach.
Notes: There was a pregame moment of silence to honor the memory of boxing legend Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker, a Norfolk native who passed away earlier Monday...Monday's contest was the first of 13 consecutive games the Tides will play against either Rochester or Lehigh Valley...Earlier Monday, Norfolk infielder Jace Peterson was named the International League Batter of the Week...Norfolk has hit 12 homers over the last five games, with each being a solo home run.
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