The Norfolk Tides entered Sunday with a five game winning streak hoping to finish the season on a winning note by defeating their International League South nemesis the Durham Bull’s. The Tides had taken the first game of the series 7-6 on Saturday behind the hitting of Third Baseman Scott Moore with Frank Mata getting the win in relief.
On Sunday the Tides sent Armando Gabino to the and the right hander making a spot start had a 5-3 lead when he came out of the game at the end of the 5th inning. Kam Mickolio pitched two innings. In the 7th Kam sent the Bulls down in order but in the 8th game up a walk and a single and was replaced on the hill by closer Dennis Sarfate who has set down the opposition like clockwork with 20 saves this season. However Sunday the usually reliable Sarfate, who has pitched the Tides out of numerous jams in the late innings did not have a good day. After striking out Kyle Holloway, Sarfate gave up a triple to Tide Killer Elliott Johnson to score both runs which were charged to Mickolio. With the score tied and Johnson on third base intentionally walked the hot hitting Chris Richard to get to Joe Dillon. Dillon hit a sacrifice fly ball to center which scored Johnson to give the Bulls a 6-5 lead before Leslie Anderson grounding into a force out to end the inning. In the top of the 9th innings the Tides got Jeff Salazar aboard on a two out single but Michael Aubrey struck out on a long at bat against Joe Bateman to end the game. Sarfate (2-2, 20S 2.73 ERA) got the loss and Bateman (7-0 1.66 ERA) got the win for the Bulls. The Tides outhit the Bulls but came up short having 5 runs on 10 hits with 1 error leaving 8 men on base. The Bulls 6 runs on 6 hits with no errors leaving 3 aboard.
On Sunday the Tides suffered another disappointing 12 inning loss to the Bulls. The Tides sent Tim Bascom who of late had pitched very well against the Bulls but the young right-hander was roughed up giving up 5 runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings work. Tides relievers Pat Egan and Jim Hoey held the Bulls as did Mike Hinckley who pitched three innings but gave up a leadoff double to Justin Ruggiano in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ruggiano advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Nevin Ashley. Hinckley then intentionally walked Joe Dillon before giving up the game winning single to Leslie Anderson. Hinckley (1-4 4.19 ERA) who pitched well got the loss for the Tides in his first appearance after coming off of the DL while Paul Phillips (1-0 1.69 ERA) picked up the win for the Bulls. The Tides had 5 runs on 12 hits with 2 errors leaving 8 runners stranded. The Bulls had 6 runs on 17 hits with 1 error leaving 12 men on base.
The Tides finished the year tied with Charlotte for 3rd in the IL South with 67-77 records. The day following the game the Orioles called up Troy Patton. On Monday and Tuesday the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees in New York with former Tides figuring in the wins especially on Tuesday as Jake Arrieta got the win aided by a home run by Nolan Reimold and some outstanding defense including that of Robert Andino at shortstop.
In the coming days and weeks I will do some analysis of the Tides 2010 season. I will miss this year’s Tides players many of whom that I gave come to know over the past two years. The Orioles have stated that the off season will be very active and that will certainly affect the careers of some of these young men that I count as friends. It is my hope and prayer that they will all continue in baseball and make the Majors at some point be it with the Orioles or another organization. Some of those that are getting older may not continue but I hope that they too will be able to remain in baseball in the professional or collegiate ranks managing, coaching or scouting as so many others have done.