Ballard Blows Through Rock Cats

| June 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

It took extra innings, but the Baysox were able to come back from a three run deficit to beat the New Britain Rock Cats 4-3 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon. The win, the teams second in a row, moves the Baysox to 28-30 on the season.

Left-handed starting pitcher Mike Ballard, making his first start for the Baysox this season, struck out a season-high 11 batters as he allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in seven innings.

“I feel like early, I was finding my rhythm,” Ballard said. “As the game progressed, I did a better job getting down in the zone and Caleb [Joseph] was calling a good game. More than anything, I was able to command different pitches in the zone. I was able to throw down in the zone and read what the hitters showed.”

The Baysox were out-hit 7-4 in the game, but were still able to execute when it counted and come away with the win. The Baysox, who often struggle with runners in scoring position, successfully completed three sacrifice plays to drive in two critical runs in a close game.

“We executed with not a lot of hitting today,” Kendall said. “[LJ] Hoes executed – he got one down to drive in a run and then we got a big sac fly from Billy [Rowell] early when it was a close game.”

New Britain got on the scoreboard first in the top of the first inning against starter Mike Ballard.  Mark Dolenc hit a lead off double down the right field line to start the game and Chris Herrmann laid down a bunt that third baseman Brandon Waring threw away, allowing Dolenc to score the first run of the game from second.

In the second inning, the Rock Cats added two more runs.  With one out, Yangervis Solarte reached on a throwing error by shortstop Pedro Florimon and then Michael Hollimon hit his second home run of the series to left-center field to give New Britain a 3-0 lead.

The Baysox struck back in the fifth inning against Rock Cats starter Brett Jacobsen.   Designated hitter Robbie Widlansky led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error by Jacobson and then right fielder Ronnie Welty doubled to put runners at second and third.  Left fielder LJ Hoes knocked in Widlansky with an RBI groundout to second and Welty went to third on the play.  First baseman Billy Rowell cut the lead to one run with a sacrifice fly to center field.

In the seventh inning, the Baysox tied the game against Rock Cats reliever Tyler Robertson. Catcher Caleb Joseph walked to lead off the inning and then went over to second on a wild pitch.  With two outs in the inning, Hoes hit an RBI single to right field that tied the score at 3-3.

“That was definitely an important play,” Hoes said. “I got a good pitch and I hit it the other way, I was just trying to make contact and move Caleb in to score.”

In the bottom of the tenth inning, Welty led off with a double down the left field line.  He was then bunted over to third base by Hoes. Steve Lerud pinch hit for Rowell and hit a sacrifice fly to right-center field that won the game for the Baysox.

“I was ready to hit,” Welty said. “I knew he was going to try to get ahead and I was looking for something to hit. I ended up getting on and it turned out to be the winning run.”

Right-handed reliever Tim Bascom pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Ballard and allowed just one hit. Left-handed reliever Nick Bierbrodt finished the game and earned his first win of the season by pitching a scoreless tenth inning though he allowed two hits.

Entering the game, Lerud was 0-for-5 as a pinch-hitter this season, but the decision by Kendall to put him in the game turned out to be the right one as he successfully executed the sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run.

“[Hitting Coach Denny] Hock and I were talking that we needed a double in the 10th inning and we get it, then LJ gets one down and Hock said we should go with Lerud because he might have a better chance against a lefty and it worked so I’m glad I listened,” Kendall explained.

Tuesday, RHP Steve Johnson (4-1, 2.02) takes the mound for the Baysox as they travel to New Hampshire to take on the Fisher Cats. His opponent will be RHP Chad Beck (5-1, 3.90).

After an off-day, Monday, June 6, the team then begins a six game road trip before returning home for a three game home stand June 14. 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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