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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Ironbirds Blank Blue Rocks in Home Opener

Chase, Nunez, and Sanchez work together to pitch to 6-0 victory

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

Leidos Field at Ripken Stadum opened its gates for the first time yesterday, and fans poured in to welcome the 2024 Aberdeen Ironbirds for the first time.

In return, they were treated to a home opener win as the IronBirds blanked the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals High-A) 6-0.

Moices Chace struck out 9 batters in 4 scoreless innings on Ironbirds Opening Night. Photo: John Topoleski

The effort was propelled by dominant pitching. Starting pitcher Moises Chace (chah-say), a 20-year-old out of Venezuela, went 4 innings and absolutely stiffled the Blue Rocks. He struck out 9 batters while only allowing 3 hits and walking just one batter.

The bullpen came in behind him for the 5th inning and beyond, and they pretty much did the same thing as Chace. Juan Nunez, the Orioles' No. 26 prospect, went 4.2 relief innings and allowed no runs while striking out 4 batters and giving up just 3 hits. Luis Sanchez relieved Nunez for the final out in the 9th inning and even though he had a walk, he kept Wilmington quiet and finished the Ironbirds' home opener win.

On the offense, two home runs helped lead the team's march with the bats. In the 6th inning, catcher Creed Willems (O's No. 29 prospect) launched his second home run of the season, a deep fly ball to right field off Nick Pogue to extend the Ironbirds' lead to 3-0. Outfielder Matthew Etzel added some insurance in the 8th with his first homer of the season, a solo shot off Jaren Zinn.

This game was ultimately decided by incredible pitching. The trio of Chace, Nunez, and Sanchez kept Wilmington quiet all game, primarily by enducing swings and misses. The offense was alive to assist them, but the job done on the mound should not go unnoticed as it serves as a testament to what the Orioles' Minor League pitching development is doing to raise young and talented arms within the organization.

The Ironbirds are back at it tonight against the Blue Rocks with a 7:05 pm first pitch at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. Zach Fruit gets the start for Aberdeen while Rodney Theophile goes for Wilmington. Purchase tickets to tonight's game here.

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