Tides rise to take series against Stripers

The Norfolk Tides have been up and down this season, yet have managed to hover near the .500 mark the entire year.

Once again, the Tides played a series and showcased what happens when it all comes together. Taking four of the six games, the Tides find themselves at 38-40 on the year, once again with the ability to cross that .500 mark with their next series.

Their series against Gwinnett saw the Tides receive contributions from both the offense and a pitching staff that has been a roller coaster of a ride this year. But this past week showed that there is talent waiting for it all to click.

The Tides would open the series by collecting an 8-2 victory June 30. Leading the charge would be Orioles No. 8 prospect, Kyle Stowers.

Stowers would collect a double and home run (first of two for the series) in three plate appearances, picking up a walk and three RBIs on the day.

Stowers has pushed his batting average to .262 on the season, as he now has 15 home runs and 45 RBIs. Of his 59 total hits, 35 have gone for extra bases (59.3% of hits are extra base hits).

Terrin Vavra, the O’s No. 13 prospect, led the way this series with three multi-hit games on the way to hitting .400 (8-for-20) for the series.

Vavra would take charge in Wednesday’s 9-5 victory. He would appear five times and collect three hits, including two doubles and two RBIs.

For the year, Vavra is hitting .310 with 13 RBIs and five stolen bases. In 30 games with Norfolk, Vavra is hitting .326 with 19 walks and 12 extra base hits.

Gunnar Henderson, who celebrated his 21st birthday on the 28th, made the most of his big day. Henderson would bat .300 for the series, but it was his birthday that was historical for not only him but the Tides.

Henderson would go 4-for-4 on the day, collecting three RBIs and the first cycle for the Norfolk Tides since they became an Orioles affiliate in 2007. If that isn’t a way to celebrate your birthday, there isn’t much more to do.

Henderson now is hitting .291 for Norfolk with an OBP of .410. He has 17 walks to go with 25 hits in 23 games. Those 25 hits include four doubles, a triple and five home runs and 16 RBIs.

Bruce Zimmermann had a stand-out series for the Tides. The embattled lefty, who is trying to regain his form and return to the majors, had probably his best two appearances since his demotion.

Zimm would pick up two wins on the series (June 28 & July 3), pitching a combined 13 innings while walking three and striking out 13. He would allow four earned runs across the two starts, giving him a 2.76 ERA for the series.

Zimmermann has pitched to a 4.50 ERA across 18 innings of work in three games for Norfolk (two starts). He has struck out 20 versus six walks.

It’s not often that a pitcher can show up D.L. Hall, but that’s just what happened in the Tides’ 2-0 victory Friday.

Hall would start the game, pitching four innigs of shutout ball with eight strikeouts, allowing just one hit.

Chris Vallimont would enter the game and finish the next five innings without allowing a hit. He would strike out six batters on the day, as he would pick up the victory.

Vallimont moves to 1-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 6.00 in Norfolk. He has pitched nine innings with 10 strikeouts since his promotion.

The Tides will look to climb over the .500 hump when they start their next series with Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Independence Day. They will have an off day Tuesday before they resume the series.

Who stood out to you in Norfolk this week? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!

Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SrHeckman

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