ABERDEEN, Md. (June 15, 2023) — Despite 2B César Berbesi’s go-ahead RBI triple in the top of the 10th, Brooklyn could not emerge victorious on Thursday night. 1B-C Creed Willems poked a game-winning two-run single in the bottom of the inning to give the Aberdeen IronBirds a 4-3 win over the Cyclones, their second walk-off victory in three games during the series.
Tied at two entering the extra frame, Berbesi rifled the first pitch he saw with one out into the gap in left-center field. 3B Chase Estep — the auto-runner at second to start the inning — scampered home, as the 23-year-old slid headfirst into third base with an RBI triple.
Ahead 3-2, Brooklyn (25-34) could not add an insurance run. Following a walk to LF Alex Ramírez and a strike out, SS William Lugo carried a fly ball to shallow center. Aberdeen’s CF Luis Valdéz made a stupendous diving grab to rob the 21-year-old of a base-hit and at least one RBI.
In the bottom of the inning, the IronBirds (30-29) came up with the game-ender. 2B Max Wagner and SS Jackson Holliday walked to start the inning, loading the bases with Valdéz taking third as the auto-runner.
After a shallow fly out to left, Willems scalded the first pitch he saw past the diving glove of the first baseman and into right field for a hit. Valdéz scored to tie the game, while Wagner slid in ahead of the throw with the winning run, providing Aberdeen with a 4-3 victory.
The IronBirds struck first on Thursday. Wagner started the home first inning with a walk and swiped second base before taking third on a throwing error. With one away, RF Dylan Beavers lofted a sacrifice fly to left, giving Aberdeen a 1-0 edge.
Brooklyn used their speed to tie the game in the fourth. Consecutive hit batters ignited the rally, but DH Kevin Parada was thrown out at the dish trying to score on RF Omar De Los Santos’ single to center.
With men at the corners and two out, De Los Santos broke toward second base. The throw down went all the way through, as Lugo turned for home at third. No toss was made toward the plate, as Brooklyn completed the double steal to tie the game at one.
An inning later, a two-out rally provided the lead for the ‘Clones. Berbesi coaxed a walk and stole second base before coming home on Ramírez’s single through the right side.
The Cyclones had a chance to add to their lead when Parada powered a deep drive to right. Alas, Beavers made a leaping grab at the fence to take away a home run, keeping it a one-run affair.
Aberdeen had an answer in the bottom of the frame. 1B-LF Isaac De León and DH Maxwell Costes provided consecutive singles to begin the attack, setting up runners at first and third. Valdéz rolled into a fielder’s choice — scoring De León — knotting the contest at two.
Neither starter received a decision. RHP Jeffrey Colón permitted two runs (one earned) over 4.1 innings for the Cyclones. IronBirds’ RHP Trace Bright yielded two tallies over five frames.
Despite permitting an unearned run in the 10th, RHP Reese Sharp (2-0) collected his second victory out of the bullpen for Aberdeen. RHP Jace Beck (3-4) was saddled with his fourth defeat in relief for Brooklyn.
Brooklyn will look to even the series on Friday night. RHP Tyler Stuart (1-0, 1.47) — the Mets’ No. 18 prospect per Baseball America — is expected to take the hill for the Cyclones. The IronBirds are projected to give the ball to RHP Ryan Long (3-3, 2.38). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.