Right-handed pitcher Wynn Pelzer threw four shutout innings in a spot start, his first start of the season as the Baysox topped the Erie SeaWolves 2-1 in their home opener. Pelzer’s last start, and only with the Baysox, came on August 23 when he pitched three innings and allowed three hits in a no decision. With the win, the Baysox improve to 3-4 on the season.
Left-handed reliever Cole McCurry earned the win in his first Double-A start after being called up from Advanced-A Frederick before the game. McCurry threw three innings, allowed three hits and one earned run while striking out two.
“My adrenaline was going heading into the game; the first hitter I was rushing and I just needed to step back and slow down and calm my nerves,” said McMurry of his first Double-A start. “I was nervous and I felt like I was going as fast as I could and I just needed to slow down and throw my game.”
The Baysox struck first in the bottom of the second inning when shortstop Pedro Florimon hit a solo home run to right field on a 2-1 pitch with one out. Right-fielder Ronnie Welty opened the inning with a strike out and after the home run, first baseman Billy Rowell and catcher Steve Lerud were retired in order by SeaWolves starting pitcher L.J. Gagnier.
Third baseman Brandon Waring hit a lead off triple in the fourth inning to put the Baysox in position to score a second run. Designated hitter Caleb Joseph was hit by a pitch and Welty pushed Waring across with an RBI single that advanced Joseph to second with no one out. Florimon would strike out swinging and Joseph was caught stealing third on a double steal, but Welty advanced to second on the throw to third. The inning ended when Rowell flew out to right field, but not before the Baysox had grabbed the 2-1 lead.
Erie got on the board in the top of the fifth inning, but it would not be enough to overcome the Baysox. Left-handed pitcher Cole McCurry replaced Pelzer and surrendered a lead off triple to Audy Ciriaco. McCurry struck out Bryan Holaday and got Francisco Martinez to ground out, but the fielder’s choice by Martinez plated Ciriaco. Deik Scram drew a walk and Ben Guez singled to right field, but McCurry got out of the inning by striking out Jamie Johnson, protecting the Baysox 2-1 lead.
Welty continued his hot streak at the plate at home against Erie, after hitting home runs in back-to-back games at Richmond. The right-fielder went 2-3 with an RBI single that would turn out to be the game-winning run for the Baysox.
“The pitcher fell behind so I was looking for fastballs and I put a couple good swings on a couple good balls and ended up hitting them pretty well,” Welty said. “I wasn’t really pulling the trigger too much on the outside pitches tonight, which I want to work on. There was a runner on third and nobody out and Caleb [Joseph] got hit by a pitch so I had to come through for my team and just try to hit something to the outfield.”
Pelzer has made two appearances this season as a reliever, but was thrust into his first start when right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson was transferred to Triple-A Norfolk. Pelzer threw four innings before hitting his pitch count and allowed just one hit through four innings while striking out five.
“I felt fine,” Pelzer said. “I was trying to command my fastball on both sides of the plate and just pitch off of that with my secondary stuff and I did a good job of that. I wanted to keep them off balance and not let them get comfortable in the box. Me and [catcher Steve] Lerud worked together pretty well tonight.”
Left-handed pitcher Pedro Viola replaced McCurry in the top of the eighth inning and allowed one hit and struck out two over two-thirds of an inning. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Cooney finished off the inning by forcing Brandon Douglas to fly out. Right-handed reliever Jose Diaz threw a perfect ninth inning to earn his second save in two games.
Manager Gary Kendall was pleased with the performance of all five of the pitchers that appeared for the Baysox, but was especially pleased with the efforts of Pelzer to get the Baysox off to a strong start.
“Pelzer did a really nice job; he had three major league pitches tonight,” Kendall said. “He threw more pitches than we would’ve liked in that first inning but he settled in and got some quick outs, got a couple first pitch outs and he gave us what we needed.”
Kendall said that he was happy to be home after opening the season with a six game road trip.
“I didn’t mind either place, but when you’re playing on the road it’s not the same as playing at home,” Kendall explained. “When you start out at home you have an advantage where you can go over some things and visit some fundamentals that you don’t have time for just because of the field usage. It’s nice to be able to get home and address some of the things that have been going wrong.”
After losing three straight, the Baysox have begun to turn things around winning two in a row. However, the Baysox had to rely heavily on their defense and pitching to get them through the game as they only managed four hits and struck out ten times. The Baysox pitching was up to the task allowing only five hits while striking out a season-high ten and walking two.
Saturday is Betty White Tribute Night with postgame fireworks. Monday is Mutt Monday where fans can bring their dog to the game and Tuesday is Tailgate Tuesday with $2 draft beers in the Bud Light Picnic Pavilion .
Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your Sox Off. The Baysox 19th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway. They played their first game at Prince George’s Stadium Thursday, April 14, at 7:05 p.m and are at home through April 20.. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com.