Atkins Stifles Senators

| May 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Baysox finally got on the scoreboard after two consecutive shutouts as Bowie beat Harrisburg 2-1 in a pitchers duel. The win improves the Baysox to 14-12 on the season and back into first place by a half game over the Senators.

Right-handed starting pitcher Mitch Atkins, making his second start for the Baysox, threw seven and two-thirds innings and allowed one earned run on six hits while striking out four. It was his longest outing of the season and exactly the kind of dominant pitching a struggling Bowie offense needed to have a chance to win the game.

“I try to go deep into every game, so it was nice,” Atkins said. “It’s a little different once you get into the seventh, eighth, ninth innings and stuff starts to go down a little bit so the experience was good.”

After not scoring a single run in the first two games of the Harrisburg series, the Baysox finally got the monkey off their back in the bottom of the first inning in game three. Second baseman Greg Miclat, who has his safely in six of his last seven games, singled to shallow left field with one out. With designated hitter Robbie Widlansky batting, Miclat stole second and a Widlansky double down the third base line plated Miclat to give the Baysox their first run of the series.

“It was good for us to get a run on the board early; we had been struggling the past two games so it got us going,” Widlansky said. “The last two days were so tough so we put in a little extra work before the game and it’s paying off and got us swinging the bats better.”

The Senators scored their only run and tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when Bill Rhinehart hit a one-out home run to right field on a 2-1 pitch. It was Rhinehart’s second solo shot in as many days and the Senators fifth of the series.

Miclat and Widlansky would help put the Baysox back into the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning. Miclat reached on a one-out bunt single down the first base line. Widlansky followed with a single through the hole at shortstop that moved Miclat to third where a sacrifice fly by third baseman Brandon Waring brought Miclat across for what would be the game-winning run.

“We knew Meyers was going to be a guy that was going to throw around the plate,” Miclat said. “He’s a control guy and doesn’t walk a lot of batters, and we were just trying to get to him early and be aggressive.”

In the eighth and ninth innings the Senators rallied and put runners into scoring position, but each time, solid fielding and clutch pitching kept the Senators from scoring any runs. Atkins started off the top of the eighth inning by surrendering a single to Steve Lombardozzi and followed by walking Chris Rahl. With two on and no outs, Atkins got Jesus Valdez to pop out on the infield fly rule and then got Tyler Moore to line out to third base. Left-handed reliever Pedro Viola replaced Atkins to strike out Rhinehart and preserve the lead.

Right-handed closer Jose Diaz entered for the Baysox in the ninth inning and recorded his tenth save of the season, but not without getting into trouble. Diaz gave up a lead off single to Derek Norris and a sacrifice bunt by Josh Johnson moved him to second. Tim Pahuta was brought on to pinch hit and drew a walk. With Jonathan Tucker batting, Diaz threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third and into prime scoring position. Diaz got out of trouble by getting Tucker to ground out to third and getting Lombardozzi to pop out to shortstop to end the game.

“Atkins threw the ball very well,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “He got into a tight jam and we had Viola ready to go and he did a good job – a 3-2 slider to a left-hander. Diaz in the ninth inning, I would’ve called a different pitch after we got two strikes on sliders and threw a fastball in the middle of the plate. We wound up getting out of it though.”

For the first time in three games, the Baysox were able to consistently put runners into scoring position and then come through with hits when those runners were on base. While that effort only translated into two runs, it was an improved effort.

“We started putting a couple hits together – I know they didn’t always come to runs, but we put some base runners out there and created some situations,” Kendall said. “Miclat got on for us twice tonight and started that whole bit. It would have been nice to get a couple more [runs], but it was nice to get on top.”

After striking out a season-high 15 times on Monday and 10 times on Tuesday, the Baysox dropped their strikeout total down to seven on Wednesday. Meyers, who has yet to walk a batter in 26 innings, struck out seven Baysox in seven innings. After managing just six hits in the first two games of the series, the Baysox offense came through with eight on Wednesday.

The Baysox now have a short turnaround for game four of the series, which comes at 11:05 a.m. Thursday, May 5. Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher Alfredo Simon will make his first start for the Baysox on a Major League rehab assignment against right-handed pitcher Shairon Martis.

The team is home through Thursday, May 5 and then will be on the road May 6-8. They Baysox return home for a seven game home stand on Monday, May 9. For more information on Baysox promotions and theme nights, visit www.baysox.com.

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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