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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Big Bats Headline Norfolk Tides Win

Five Tides, including several top Orioles prospect, launch home runs in 10-6 victory

*Cover Photo Credit: Katie Gilmore

The Tides were looking for a feel-good game after Easter Sunday's 17-5 loss to the Durham Bulls. Well, they sure felt more than good after last night's 10-6 win over the Charlotte Knights. They had to have felt awesome. After all, they slugged six home runs en route to the win.

It isn't even a full week into the 2024 season, and the Tides lead the International League with 12 home runs.

Baseball's No. 1 prospect, Jackson Holliday, was the first to leave the yard for the Tides last night. He wasted no time either, as he clobbered a 2-0 offspeed pitch from Charlotte's Johan Dominguez in the top of the 1st over the centerfield wall to lead off the game. For the 20-year-old phenom, it was his second leadoff home run of the season. However, it was his final hit of the night as he followed that with a hat trick in the form of three strikeouts. Nonetheless, he is still having a great start to the season as he is now batting .316 with a 1.070 OPS and a .499 SLG.

Immediately after Holliday left the yard, so did Orioles No. 7 prospect Connor Norby. He took a two-strike fastball and put it over the left field wall for a

solo home run. It was the 23-year-old's second home run of the season.

Heston Kjerstad's 451 ft. bomb was one of two home runs he hit last night. Photo: John Topoleski

MLB's No. 32 prospect Heston Kjerstad joined the home run parade twice. The first time he did so was in the top of the 5th against Dominguez. He obliterated a hanging curveball into the right field bleachers 451 feet away to give the Tides a 4-0 advantage. I mean, gee whiz; this ball was smoked. He homered again in the 9th inning for a solo blast off of Lane Ramsey and finished the night going 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs. This was Kjerstad's first ever multi-homer game in his professional career and after going homerless in the opening series, it is great to see Kjerstad finding his power stroke as his talents are built around big time power hitting thanks to a strong and long swing reminescent to the likes of Chris Davis.

Kyle Stowers also left the park. He placed his second home run of the season into the left field bleachers for an oppo-taco off a Prelander Berroa breaking ball. This makes Stowers, a former Top 10 Orioles prospect, 8-for-16 (.333) this season with a 1.090 OPS.

Minor League signee and Maryland native Errol Robinson, who was in the lineup at shortstop, took the first pitch he saw in the top of the 9th over the centerfield wall for his first home run of the season. Robinson, who hails from Boyds, Maryland, is off to a hot start this season. He is hitting .417 with a 1.212 OPS and is hanging right there with the O's elite prospect infielders making a bid for the big leagues.

The night may have been defined by the offense, but Cade Povich's dominant outing cannot be neglected either. The southpaw started the game and tossed scoreless while striking out five, allowing just one hit, and walking none. His strikeout pitch was a mid-80s changeup that had good drop and was spotted well. His fastball averaged around 93 MPH.

The bats have been swinging well, and the Tides have utilized power to their full advantage. It will be important for them to keep swinging it hot, as there are some good hitting teams in the International League that will swing it right there with them. In addition, the Tides' bullpen has been off to a slow start, so in order to have a chance to win, they need to keep scoring and swinging for all nine innings in the event that the bullpen cannot hold the fort down. So far, the offense seems to have no plans ot slowing down anytime soon.

The Tides and Knights are back at it again at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina tomorrow at 6:35 pm. Justin Ambruester has the ball for the Tides for his first start of the season.

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