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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Tides Open 2024 Season with Win

Defending champs take down Durham Bulls 12-8

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

Oh, it was a party at Harbor Park last night. The fans who flocked to Norfolk Tides Opening Day were treated to quite the season opener.

For starters, as fans entered the park, they received a 2024 magnet schedule which is a neat little souvenir to hang on the refrigerator. Then prior to first pitch, the 2023 Triple-A championship team was recognized in a pregame ceremony.

Following that, the stacked Orioles' Triple-A affiliate took the field to begin a new journey in the new season. Amongst those to take the field were some of the Orioles' most prized prospects including Jackson Holliday (MLB No. 1), Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby, and Chayce McDermott.

The boys put on quite the display for the home crowd. They beat the Durham Bulls, the same team that they beat for the International League championship, by a score of 12-8.

O's No. 7 prospect Connor Norby had a 4-for-6 night on Opening Day yesterday. Photo: John Topoleski

Everybody in Buck Britton's lineup got a hit. Norby had himself quite a night with a 4-for-6 effort that included a double and two RBIs. Peyton Burdick swatted a two-out home run in the first inning in a 1-for-4 effort. Kjerstad collected two hits and two RBIs, while Mayo and Billy Cook each collected 2 hits as well. Catcher Maverick Handley went 1-for-2, scoring three runs and drawing two walks.

Holliday batted leadoff for the Tides and stepped up to the plate to a standing ovation from the Tides fans. He then proceeded to open the scoring with a leadoff moonshot off Bulls southpaw Mason Montgomery. Holliday is at Triple-A trying to fix his struggles against lefties, and this was a great start to Mission: Southpaw for the 20-year-old phenom. He would end up going 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs.

The pitching was led by a solid start from McDermott, the Orioles' 9th best prospect. He went 4.1 innings while striking out five batters. He only allowed one hit, a single to Bulls catcher Logan Driscoll. However, he did have five walks.

For the most part, the bullpen came in and did its job behind McDermott. Wandisson Charles, Luis Gonzalez, and Bryan Baker all combined for 3.1 scoreless innings. Tucker Davidson struggled in his Tides debut as he was tagged for 7 runs (3 earned). He allowed 5 hits while walking two batters.

It was nice to see Baker have a solid night as he fights to rejoin the Orioles' bullpen later on in the season. He was optioned to the Tides after Spring Training after being a core piece of the Orioles' bullpen the previous two seasons. If he can work on his command and his execution of two-strike pitches, then he has a legit shot at returning to the Orioles. I mean, he has a good pitch arsenal as is.

The defense was a bit shaky. There were three Tides errors in the game, so there is some room for improvement on defense. However, it is just the first game. Errors will happen especially early in the season, and they were able to make up for those errors with an offensive showcase.

In the end, the Tides slugged their way to victory last night. This lineup is loaded with offensive potential, and they cover all areas of offense from power to speed to situational hitting. The Tides will rely heavily on their offense this season, and their ability to hit will help their hard-working and elite pitching a ton. If Opening Day indicated anything, it showed that 2024 could be another promising season for the Tides, much like 2023.

The Tides are back at it tomorrow for the second game of this 3-game set with Durham. First pitch is set for 6:35 at Harbor Park. Tickets can be purchased here.

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