Before he heads back to Notre Dame, Indiana to play his final season of Irish basketball, Pat Connaughton has spent the past month pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds. With the Short Season Single-A IronBirds, Connaughton has given Baltimore a little taste of what they can expect from him when he starts his road to Camden Yards next season.
Since July 1st, Connaughton has played in five games; starting in four of those games. In an attempt to ease Connaughton into the transition from college to professional ball, he was limited to just one inning of work in his first outing on July 1st and two innings on July 5th.
Although it was a small sample size, it was a good sample size for the right-hander. In three combined innings of work, Connaughton did not allow any runs to score and he did not allow any batters to get on base. In his second outing, he struck out three batters (two looking, one swinging).
His third start on July 11th was his worst one by far. Connaughton got rocked early allowing three earned runs (four total) off of five hits in 1 2/3 innings.
On July 17th, Connaughton came in for relief in the bottom of the fourth inning. This would be his longest outing with the IronBirds as he went 4 1/3 innings. This would have been his best pitching performance with Aberdeen as he headed into the eighth inning without giving up a run.
Unfortunately, back-to-back errors by Aberdeen’s first baseman got Connaughton into a funk and after striking out his third batter of the night, he gave up a single, scoring the runner from second base to make the score 3-2 Aberdeen. He then gave up another single to load the bases and was taken out of the game by Aberdeen manager, Matt Merullo.
Ivan Hernandez came into the game and allowed all three of his inherited base runners to score off a walk, sacrifice fly and a single. With the score 5-3, Connaughton picked up his first loss as a pitcher of his professional career.
His latest outing came last night and a string of rain delays forced Merullo to shut down Connaughton after having pitched an inning, giving up a run off of two hits.
In ten total innings, Connaughton is posting a 3.60 ERA with an impressive 1:8 walk/strikeout ratio. Connaughton will soon be back in blue and gold, draining 3′s and taking down some of the ACC’s best. After all that though he will be back in the Orioles Farm System, on his way up to Birdland.