The Bowie Baysox lost 5-3 to the Erie SeaWolves on Thursday with two unearned runs providing the difference for Erie. The Baysox fall to 16-19 and lie in fourth place in their division, five and a half games behind the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Starting pitcher Tim Bascom cruised through the first five innings with a solo home run in the fourth the only damage dealt to him, but ran into trouble in the sixth stanza as the SeaWolves generated hit after hit for four runs. In total, he surrendered nine hits for five runs (three earned) through 5.2 innings.
“I take nothing but positives from this start,” Bascom said. “I threw strikes inside, outside, basically controlled the pace of the game; threw off-speed for strikes. Sometimes baseball is just a frustrating sport and there’s nothing you can really do about it. All I can really focus on is what I can control.”
Bascom started out strong, with just one batter reaching the bases in each of the first five innings, including a lead-off solo-shot home run to left-center by designated hitter Cesar Nicolas in the top of the fourth frame that got the SeaWolves off to a 1-0 lead.
His strong start came to a screeching halt in the sixth inning as Erie opened the frame with four consecutive singles. Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez led off with a line-drive to left field and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Nicolas. Ramirez scored on third baseman Audy Ciriaco’s single to right field and first baseman Michael Bertram loaded the bases with no outs on a fly ball to left field. Baysox second baseman Matt Tucker recorded the first out on Cale Iorg’s infield pop-up. Catcher Jeff Kunkel hit a grounder at Tucker that could have been a double play, but Tucker dropped the ball after gathering it off the ground, allowing Nicolas to score as the bags stayed juiced.
“It was really frustrating because I made some great pitches and any other day [Ramirez’s hit] would be a ball right to the shortstop,” Bascom said. “But it was a broken bat and it goes right over his head. They did a good job of the hit-and-run and just found a hole. There’s a lot of balls that just found holes today and there’s nothing you can really do about it.”
SeaWolves right fielder Josh Burrus capped off the scoring with a ground ball to left-center that sent Ciriaco and Bertram across the plate for unearned runs to put Erie up 5-0. Right-hander Zach Clark came on after the unearned runs and got the final out on a foul pop that first baseman Robbie Widlansky pulled in.
“The errors aren’t in my head at all,” Bascom said. “My outfield made some great plays tonight behind me to save me. All I can do is control what I do on the mound and other than that, the plays can get made, if they don’t, I just gotta keep pitching.”
“It is [frustrating],” said Baysox manager Brad Komminsk, whose club leads the Eastern League in miscues with 38 errors and 27 unearned runs. “I think we have better defenders than that; we just, for whatever reason, aren’t catching the ball. And then when we don’t catch it, we can’t get an out after that either, so it’s definitely frustrating.”
The Baysox attempted a rally after Erie’s big inning, led by left fielder Tyler Henson, who crushed Thad Weber’s first pitch in the bottom of the sixth over the center field wall. It was Henson’s third home run of the year, which moved his team-best RBI total to 22.
In the bottom of the seventh frame, center fielder Matt Angle used his blazing speed to beat out a throw from shortstop to get aboard with an infield single in his first game of 2010, after breaking a bone in his wrist late in spring training.
“It was good just to be playing again,” said Angle, who went 2-for-4 with a walk in his return to the diamond. “This is the first time I’ve had a serious injury like this during pro ball, so it’s just good to be playing. I wish we could’ve won tonight, but the good thing about baseball is we play tomorrow.”
Right fielder Jonathan Tucker followed him with another base hit on a bloop to right field and both runners took off as Tyler Henson struck out to steal second and third base. Designated hitter Joel Guzman delivered a clutch hit on a line drive single to right that plated Tucker and Angle to cut the lead to 5-3. Guzman’s was the only hit the Baysox managed in 11 opportunities with runners in scoring position, after going 0-for-10 in their previous game against Richmond.
Though the Baysox failed in their comeback bid, they wouldn’t have had much of a chance had it not been for excellent relief pitching from Clark, who allowed just one hit through the last 3.1 innings. It was the seventh straight appearance without an earned run for Clark, a stretch that spans 13.2 innings with just three hits and two walks.
The Baysox will try to bounce back Friday in game two of the four-game set. Friday and Saturday’s games feature the Baysox signature fireworks celebration, presented by Educational Systems Federal Credit Union. 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.