he Bowie Baysox topped the Erie SeaWolves 3-2 Friday night at rain-soaked Prince George’s Stadium in a game that was pushed back 48 minutes by the rain, and then held up for nearly an hour as another storm cell passed in the second inning. The Baysox improve to 17-19 and are two and a half games behind Erie for third place in the Eastern League’s Western Division. The Baysox are now 2-6 in the season series against the SeaWolves.
Starting pitcher Zach Britton stayed in the game after the delay and finished with two runs off four hits through 5.1 innings with six strikeouts as he earned a no-decision.
“I think we were right on the line of whether or not to put me back out there or I was done for the day,” Britton said. “So, they asked me how I felt — I felt pretty good — and they told me to go out and get us some innings. My command wasn’t as good as it was the first inning and a third, but that was about it. My stuff felt good, but the command wasn’t as great.”
“He was throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes right away,” said catcher Caleb Joseph. “He threw a lot of really good sliders, he threw four or five really good change-ups, and when he does that, it opens up that sinker right away. He had electric stuff tonight, but he got bit in the butt by two-or-three dinky hits and that’s gonna happen because he has such electric stuff that that ball is moving outside of the zone so fast, that they’re not getting good wood on it.”
The Baysox did not miss a beat after the rain delay, finishing the top of the second inning quickly before designated hitter Joel Guzman crushed Anthony Shawler’s first pitch for a home run to left field that opened up a 1-0 Baysox lead in the second frame. It was Guzman’s team-leading seventh long ball of the year, putting him in a tie for second-most in the Eastern League.
Britton cruised through the first four innings without allowing a hit as he faced just three batters above the minimum. He got burned by Erie shortstop Cale Iorg, who smashed his first-pitch fastball for a home run to dead center to lead off the top of the fifth frame. Second baseman Shawn Roof then got aboard with a one-out line drive single and stole second base before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt. Left fielder Andy Dirks drove him home with a blooped single to shallow left that put the SeaWolves ahead 2-1 in the middle of the fifth inning.
“I thought I had a good thing going there up until the fifth inning,” Britton said. “On the home run, I’m not going to throw anything other than a fastball — they hadn’t gotten a hit all night, so he jumped and hit a home run and there’s really nothing I could do. I felt like after that, I kind of nibbled and threw some pitches, got into some deep counts, and the hit that scored the other run was just kind of off the end of the bat and just blooped in. So, kind of unlucky day, but for the most part, I feel pretty good.”
Bowie was able to come back and manufacture a run in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to clever base running by Joseph. He reached first on a grounder up the middle with two outs and stole his first base of the year before moving on to third base on a wild pitch; the steal was just the fifth stolen base of Joseph’s career. Center fielder Matt Angle plated him for the tying run with a line drive to center.
“I’ve felt pretty good for the last four-or-five games,” Joseph said. “The numbers aren’t really showing it, but I’m beginning to square a lot more balls up. That’s just me, I had to make a few adjustments here and there; I got into some seriously bad habits as soon as I got here. I was good during spring training and for some odd reason I got into a lot of bad habits that were creating even more problems with my swing. I made the adjustment back to what I used to hit like last year, and I’m feeling really good. For me, feeling comfortable up there is the biggest factor, because I was not comfortable in the last four weeks at all. Mentally, physically, I did not feel good, and I’m starting to feel like myself again.”
Left fielder Tyler Henson hit a line drive single to right-center in the sixth inning and soon found himself on third as Erie reliever Jared Gayhart loaded the bases with no outs by hitting Guzman and third baseman Brandon Waring in successive at-bats. First baseman Robbie Widlansky delivered the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left that plated Henson and put Bowie up 3-2.
The Baysox got the win as reliever Pat Egan reverted to his dominant form after giving up four runs in an inning to Richmond on May 10, his first blown save in nearly a year. Egan gave up no hits with only one batter reaching the base paths as he notched his team-leading third win of the year. Right-hander Pedro Beato got three quick outs in the ninth inning to record the second save of his career, after spending his first four seasons as a starting pitcher.
The Baysox are back in action Saturday at 6:35 p.m. in game three of the four-game set with Erie. Fans can enjoy the Baysox signature fireworks celebration after the game, presented by Prince George’s Community College. Sunday is the Baysox annual Bark in the Park event, when fans are welcome to bring their dog to the game on a leash and with some proof of current rabies vaccination. Bark in the Park features dog-related promotions and freebies as well as a special visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog, presented by Maryland Public Television.