When this season began,Nolan Reimold didn't expect to play any games this close to his college alma mater, Bowling Green State University.
But Thursday night Reimold was at Fifth Third Field, drilling a two-run double that was a key blow in Norfolk's 6-3 win over the Mud Hens.
"I've been struggling, so it was good to come through with the bases loaded in a crucial part of the game," Reimold said. "Hopefully that will build some momentum for me."
Reimold came to the plate in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded and the score tied at 3-3. He promptly lined a 1-0 pitch down the left-field line to break the tie.
Mud Hens shortstop Brent Dlugach tags out Norfolk's Josh Bell during a run down in the fourth inning of Thursday's game at Fifth Third Field.
"That was a big hit for me - a confidence booster," Reimold said. "Hitting is all about confidence. Some times all it takes is one swing, and I hope that was it."
Reimold, a second-round draft pick of the Orioles out of BGSU in 2005, hit .394 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in just 31 early season games for Norfolk last year to earn a promotion to Baltimore. In 104 big-league games pick of the Orioles out of BGSU in 2005, hit .394 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in just 31 early season games for Norfolk last year to earn a promotion to Baltimore. In 104 big-league games he hit .279 with 15 homers and 45 RBI in 104 games, ranking among the top rookies in both homers and RBIs.
"Looking back, I know I can play [in the major leagues] because I did last year," he said. "I just need to get back to the form I was in last year, and hopefully get back up there."
The 26-year-old's problems this year actually began late last season, as he was forced onto the disabled list Sept. 18 with Achilles tendonitis that required surgery.
"[That injury] affected my off-season - I wasn't able to prepare the way that I wanted to," Reimold admitted. "Things snowballed on me this year, so I'm just trying to turn things around."
Reimold hit just .205 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 29 games with the Orioles. He was demoted to Norfolk on May 12 and has struggled with the Tides, entering Thursday night's game with a .172 batting average and just three homers and eight RBIs in 27 games.
"He's dangerous when he walks up to the plate," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Reimold. "He's a big, strong kid. We didn't make a pitch, and he knocked in a couple of runs."
Reimold's hit was part of a five-run rally that erased a two-run Toledo lead. The Tides had scored an unearned run in the third off Toledo starter Ryan Ketchner. Matt Angle led off with a bunt single down the first-base line, then took second on a wild throw by Ketchner.
Angle stole third and came home on Robert Andino's sacrifice fly.
The Hens took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning off Norfolk starter Brad Bergesen. Brent Dlugach singled, then took second on a single by Jeff Frazier.
One out later Jeff Larish drilled a long drive to straight-away center for a three-run homer, his 10th home run of the season.
The score stayed 3-1 Toledo until the eighth, when Norfolk scored five times off the Hens' bullpen. Paco Figueroa led off by beating out a grounder into the hole at shortstop for a single, Toledo reliever Daniel Schlereth walked Matt Angle, and Robert Andino then beat out a bunt towards the vacated shortstop position to load the bases.
Jeff Salazar hit a grounder to first base, but Frazier's low throw home wasn't caught by catcher Jeff Kunkel, allowing Figueroa to score and keeping the bases loaded.
Schlereth struck out Josh Bell, but he then walked Michael Aubrey to force home the tying run. Scot Drucker came on and surrendered the hit to Reimold, and after an intentional walk Adam Donachie added a sacrifice fly for an insurance run.
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