Late comeback falls short in 5-3 loss
ALEXANDRIA – by Lukas Favale – It took until the 9th inning for the Alexandria Aces to find their bats following a two day layoff, but by then it was too late as the Aces fell to the Youse’s Orioles 5-3 on Thursday night. The Aces were shut out through eight innings before finally pushing across 3 runs in the 9th. Of course, it could have been more, but the Aces stranded the bases loaded in the 9th inning as the comeback fell short.
Kevin Francke started the 9th inning rally with a single. Craig Sweeney then walked and Nick Covello grounded out to first, moving Francke and Sweeney up to 2nd and 3rd with one out. With Taylor Nace coming on relief after that, Aces Manager Corey Haines sent up Ronnie Glenn as a pinch hitter. He sent a screaming line-drive over the head of center fielder Dominic Fratantuono, for a triple that plated both runs. A Jacob Stockton pinch-hit walk, followed by an Adam Forrer walk loaded the bases with still one out and the Aces trailing 5-2.
Anthony Papio then greeted David Sapp, who was brought in for Nace, with a looping single to left field which only scored one run, but kept the bases loaded with the Aces trailing 5-3. Alex Buccilli then worked the count to 2-2 before being called out by first base umpire Jerry Park on a check swing strike three. Chris Sweeney then hit a towering fly out to left field to end the game, stranding the bases loaded.The Orioles led from the 5th inning on, and in the top of the 9th they knocked home some insurance runs off of reliever Nick Marics. Leading 3-0 entering the 9th, KJ Hockaday got the Orioles a chance for more runs by leading off with a single. A passed ball and fly out sent Hockaday to third, where he would score from on Ryan Ripken’s RBI single. Ripken would later score on an Allen Bencid two-out RBI single for a 5-0 Orioles lead.
In the 6th, the Orioles were able to build on their 1-0 lead. Ryan Ripken got the rally started with a one-out single on a ball that second baseman Adam Forrer saw bounce off of his forearm and into center field. Back-to-back walks by Aces starter Brian O’Neill loaded the bases and ended his night as AJ Rosenthal came in to try and get out of the jam.
Allen Bencid hit the first pitch from Rosenthal into left field for an RBI single and a 2-0 Orioles lead, which became 3-0 after Brock Niggebrugge hit into a fielder’s choice for an RBI.
In the 5th, the Orioles finally cracked the scoreboard against O’Neill. Mikal Hill hit a one-out double into right field. Dominic Fratantuono followed that with his own double before he was thrown out at third trying to extend it into a triple. Hill did score to put the Orioles ahead 1-0.
The loss snaps the Aces 3-game winning streak and drops them back to .5oo at 12-12. The Orioles improve to 11-10 on the season. The Aces are in action on Friday on the road against the Vienna River Dogs at 7PM.
Notes: W – Kevin Mooney (2-1); L – Brian O’Neill (0-3); Box Score