IronBirds soar by Blue Rocks for series victory

The IronBirds have been in a dog fight as of late. After blowing away the competition in the first half, they had come back down to earth and were struggling to find some consistent footing in the second half.

Struggling to string together strong pitching and offensive performances, the IronBirds seemed hard pressed to repeat their first half success. Enter the Wilmington Blue Rocks, and the formula that the IronBirds were looking for finally found its footing.

Aberdeen would play a split home and home series (three home, three away), taking the series four games to two, but they did it with a combination of strong pitching and potent offense.

In the series, the IronBirds would hold the Blue Rocks to four or fewer runs in five of the six games and would score four or more runs in four of the six games. It’s easy to see with this combination why Aberdeen was able to come out of the series victorious and only 2.5 games back in the division standings.

Heston Kjerstad looks to be turning a corner after he collected hits in three of the five games, including two multi-hit games. Kjerstad also has an 11-game on base streak as they head into the next series.

In Wednesday’s 8-3 victory, Kjerstad would collect a double and two RBIs. On the double, Kjerstad would advance to third on a throwing error, though his RBIs would be all the scoring for the inning.

On the season, Kjerstad has raised his average to .214 for Aberdeen. He has two home runs, 16 RBIs and has walked 14 times in 33 games played.

Trendon Craig, who was promoted to Aberdeen at the beginning of August, has been making the most of his opportunity. Another strong series saw him pick up his fourth and fifth multi-hit games and collect hits in three of the five games.

In Saturday’s 11-4 victory, Craig would collect three hits in four at-bats. He also walked once, scored a run and drove in three runs for the game.

In 19 games with Aberdeen, Craig is batting .300 with 21 hits, nine RBIs and five stolen bases. For the year, he is hitting .272 with two long balls, 42 RBIs and 13 stolen bases, with a .376 OBP.

Peter Van Loon made his longest start since June 30, in Aberdeen’s 9-2 victory Friday. He would pitch five innings of two-hit ball, giving up an unearned run, while striking out four en route to picking up the victory.

Van Loon improves to 10-3 on the season across 22 games, 13 starts. He has a 3.28 ERA across 79.2 innings pitched, striking out 87 batters.

Aberdeen will welcome the Hickory Crawdads to town, who come in on a five-game losing streak. They will be looking to improve their standing, as this is the second to last series and last home series before the playoffs.

The series kicks off Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. EST, as the IronBirds will look to build momentum as the season winds down.

Who stood out to you for Aberdeen this week? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

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

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