Avery Steals Game From Akron

| April 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Leadoff hitter and center fielder Xavier Avery had two hits, three stolen bases, and one RBI on the night as the Baysox stole past the Aeros 3-0 to avoid the sweep. The Baysox stole six total bases during the game and after three straight losses, the win makes the Baysox 6-7 on the season.

“It makes it easier for my teammates to get RBIs when I get into scoring position,” said Avery, who has 10 steals in 13 games and leads the Eastern League by five bags. “I love hitting leadoff because I feel like I’m the first guy that gets to go out and set the tone in that position.”

Right-handed starting pitcher Wynn Pelzer struggled with his control early in the game, walking four batters in the first three innings. Despite his struggles, only one runner made it as far as third base against him, and he threw five scoreless innings while striking out six and walking five.

“I feel like tonight I didn’t command my fastball as well as I wanted to,” Pelzer said. “I actually got out of a few situations where I could’ve given up some runs. I was trying to make pitches when I needed to, to get us out of innings.

In each of the first three innings, the Baysox first or second batter was able to reach second base with one or no outs, but each time, the Bowie offense faltered and the remaining outs were recorded before any runs could be scored.

“It wasn’t good,” Manager Gary Kendall said. “Early in the game you have to set the tempo and take a little pressure off of Wynn. You got out there from a pitcher’s standpoint – you make one mistake and you lose a ballgame. We had several opportunities early in the game and it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

That finally changed in the fifth inning when the Baysox got on the board. Second baseman Greg Miclat singled through the hole at second base to start the inning, but left fielder Miguel Abreu grounded into a force out to second that retired Miclat. With Avery batting, Abreu stole second and reached third on a throwing error by the catcher. Avery then reached on a fielder’s choice to the second baseman, who chose to try to get the out at home. Abreu collided with the catcher and managed to knock the ball loose to score the first run of the game. The inning would end with the Baysox leading 1-0.

Things got chippy in the top of the seventh after a two-out single up the middle by Tim Fedroff, who was facing right-handed relief pitcher Ryohei Tanaka. With Juan Diaz batting, Tanaka was called for a balk and Kendall was ejected from the game for arguing the call from the dugout. Tanaka would retire Diaz to end the inning.

“[Tanaka] has pitched back-to-back nights and thrown over there about eight times with the same move,” Kendall explained. “I just didn’t see a balk and I didn’t see any deception, I saw direction to first so I jawed at him a little bit from the bench and he threw me out.”

The Baysox struck again in the seventh inning after a pitching change by the Aeros put Chen-Chang Lee on the mound to face shortstop Pedro Florimon. On a 1-0 count, Florimon blasted a home run, his second of the season, to center field to put the Baysox up 2-0.

Akron’s best chance to score came in the top of the eighth inning against right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Cooney. Cooney started the inning by walking Chun Chen and then gave up a double to Matt McBride that moved Chen to third. Cooney walked John Drennen to load the bases but then got himself out of the jam when he snagged a short chopper from Kyle Bellows and threw to home to start a double play that would also see Bellows out at first. With runners still on second and third, Cooney struck out Matt Lawson to end the inning and protect the Bowie lead.

“I haven’t been on the mound in a few days after a long outing and the first walk I just felt like I was trying to force things and then I got 0-2 on McBride, but left the pitch right over the middle,” Cooney said. “I thought he got it out, but it stayed in. Then another walk on a close 3-2, I was trying to set up a double play to limit it to one run. I made a couple really good pitches down and away and had a ground ball back to me and once I got the double play, it was just a matter of getting the last hitter out.”

The Baysox would get another run off Lee in the bottom of the eighth, which started with a lead off walk by first baseman Brandon Waring. Third baseman Carlos Rojas, who had just entered as a defensive replacement the previous inning, singled through the hole at second moving Waring to third. After right fielder Ronnie Welty struck out swinging, catcher Caleb Joseph hit a sacrifice fly that would score Waring and give the Baysox a 3-0 lead.  

Baysox right-handed closer Jose Diaz entered the game in the ninth inning and allowed one hit and struck out one as he recorded the save, his fourth of the season. Tanaka threw two innings in relief of Pelzer and allowed three hits while striking out two.

Despite coming up with the win, the Baysox were just 1-14 with runners in scoring position and have struggled in the past three games to get their offense going. Baysox batters struck out 12 times on Wednesday night and struck out 34 times in the series against Akron.

The team goes on the road to face Erie for three games and Akron for four before returning to Prince George’s Stadium on April 29 for a seven-game homestand.

Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your ‘Sox Off. The Baysox 19th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com.

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