September 27, 2023
Annapolis, US 59 F

Unearned Runs Earn Baysox Defeat

The Bowie Baysox were plagued by fielding errors as they lost to the Erie SeaWolves 4-3 on Thursday afternoon, once again falling victim to fielding errors that cost them the game.  It was the first time this season that the Baysox have been swept at Prince George’s Stadium, dropping their record to 12-9 as they remain in second place in their division, two games behind the Altoona Curve.  It was the first time the Baysox were swept at home since Akron did it from June 17-19 in 2008

B aysox lefty Zach Britton gave up just one earned run off of six hits and two walks through five and one-third innings of work, but it was the three unearned runs hung on him that led to his second loss of the year.

“I’ve had a talk with Kennie [Steenstra, Baysox pitching coach], and I feel like I’m doing everything I need to do to win,” Britton said.  “I’m giving up a ton of ground balls; I don’t think I’ve ever given up this many singles in my life.  I feel like we’re not just getting the balls we should get to and that’s out of my control.

“I’m not going to say I’m throwing my best, but I’m getting the groundballs I need,” he continued.  “I’m throwing the changeup a lot more than I did last year and I’m getting into some tight situations because I’m missing with it, but you sacrifice the short-term success for the long-term gain, which is to be able to throw that in Baltimore and get people out.”

Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara got the start for the Baysox to complete his Major League rehab assignment, throwing 12 pitches in the first inning with no hits and a walk.  Britton took over in the second inning and retired the first five batters he faced before giving up a groundball single to Erie second baseman Shawn Roof in the third inning.  Roof advanced to second on Christopher White’s infield hit and scored when left fielder Wilkin Ramirez sent a ground ball down the left field line.

Catcher Phil Britton got the start for Bowie and adapted well to working with the two marquee pitchers in one game.

“We had Uehara, who throws straight and is pretty pinpoint.  Wherever I threw the glove up there, he was right there,” he said.  “That’s different when you’re seeing 85-88 [mph] fastballs, a little cutter and a splitter from Koji, and then you get Zach who is coming in throwing left-handed and hard.  So, that was an adjustment for me, but I’ve never caught [Zach] before — I don’t think even in a bullpen.  We had good pitches and good opportunities to get outs, I think maybe only one run was earned out of that.  He did a good job, he’s fun to catch.”

Zach Britton retired four more batters in a row but faced serious trouble in the fifth inning, when he loaded up the bases by hitting a batter and walking two more with two outs.  SeaWolves right fielder Josh Burrus hit a ground ball up the middle that Baysox shortstop Pedro Florimon should have easily been able to flip to second base to end the inning but he failed to come up with the ball when he reached down for it, and catcher Jeff Kunkel was able to score.  Britton then gave up another single to Cesar Nicolas that sent White and Ramirez across the plate for two more unearned runs.

“I know the guys are trying and I’m not calling anybody out, but I feel like we just need to play better fundamentally,” Zach Britton said.  “Me and Chorye [Spoone] are groundball pitchers and the last couple outings for us, we’re making our pitches but we’re not getting outs and it’s frustrating.”

“The miscues haven’t been spread out.  The middle has been struggling a bit, but the rest of it has been pretty good,” said Manager Brad Komminsk.  “Florimon has been working with everybody; it’s not like he’s not trying.  He’s working at it and it’s just a matter of hopefully he’ll get a little confidence going, a little rhythm and solidify himself a little bit.”

The Baysox bullpen also pitched well, with Zach Clark and Pat Egan teaming up to retire every batter Erie sent to the plate after Britton left the mound.  Their performance gave the Baysox the window they needed to mount a comeback as Phil Britton walked to start the bottom of the fifth and was sent to third on Florimon’s double to right field.  Left fielder Tyler Henson plated Britton with an infield single, his team-leading 15th RBI of the season.

The Baysox added a run when Paco Figueroa scored on a Ryan Adams’ groundout in the seventh inning and another run in the eighth when third baseman Brandon Waring crossed home on Phil Britton’s groundout to put the score at 4-3.  Unfortunately, that was where it stayed, as the Baysox couldn’t get much going in the final frame beyond a one-out single by Henson.

Bowie hit the ball reasonably well, outhitting the SeaWolves 9-6, but their downfall came in the timeliness of the hits.  The Baysox left 11 runners on base in the game, only converting one of their twelve opportunities with runners in scoring position.

“We’ve just got to get timely hitting,” said Figueroa, who went 3-for-5 with two triples.  “We’re not executing with runners on third, second, no outs; we’ve got to bring those runners in.  Everybody can get their hits, but we’ve got to hit with runners in scoring position and bring in those runs.  Tomorrow’s another day; we’ve got to forget about this.  We’ve got a good squad and need to focus on winning again.”

The Baysox now begin a long 10-day road trip with stops in Richmond, Harrisburg and Trenton before they come back to Bowie on May 10 for a series with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.  That first game back will be the Baysox inaugural Beard-a-Palooza, where any fan with a beard may purchase half-priced lower reserved seat tickets ($7) for the game, limit one per beard.  Fans who cannot grow a beard are encouraged to make one!  Between-inning contests include “What’s In the Beard” and longest and most colorful beards.

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