September 23, 2023
Annapolis, US 63 F

Bowie Overcome B-Mets’ Boomers

The Bowie Baysox opened a six-game home stand with a 7-2 victory over the Binghamton Mets, overcoming a pair of home runs by first baseman Nick Evans.  Bowie’s pitchers hammered the strike zone and finished with 13 strikeouts.  The win pushes the Baysox to 27-25 on the season and puts them in a tie with Richmond for second place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, seven games behind league leaders Altoona.

Starting pitcher Steve Johnson had his best outing in several weeks, with two earned runs on three hits through 6.0 innings.  The control problems that led to him walking 11 batters in his last two starts seemed a distant memory, as he fanned eight batters with just one walk.

“Last couple outings, I haven’t felt comfortable,” Johnson said.  “The main thing all season is I haven’t felt comfortable. Finally I have one of these games you get some muscle memory in there and I threw a lot of strikes today. I was happy about it. No matter what would’ve happened out there, I was throwing strikes. I was making them hit it.”

Evans launched his first long ball with two outs in the first inning, a fly ball that had just enough power to make it over the fence in left-center field.  He notched a more impressive home run in the fourth inning, blasting Johnson’s first pitch fastball high over the second wall behind left field.

“Today, [Evans] kind of had my number,” Johnson said.  “I threw a good pitch the first at bat to him. I thought I jammed him but he obviously has a lot of power and muscled it out of here. Second one, I just missed my spot. I wanted to go fastball away and I threw it right down the middle. I knew he was geared up fastball. I just wanted to throw it on the outside corner, hopefully roll it over.”

Though he seemed to have gotten his control back, home runs continue to be a nagging problem for Johnson, who is tied for the league lead in home runs allowed with 10.

“I’m a fly ball pitcher, I know that,” Johnson said.  “I’m trying to work on something to get a lot of ground balls. My ball just has a little bit extra to it to make them pop it out. I don’t know what it is but it also helps me get some strikeouts. It’s something I’ve got to work on but I do like the way I go after guys. Like I said, it gets me into trouble sometimes but at the same time, it’s how I’ve got to pitch. I’ll work it out and hopefully keep the ball down a little better and work on that. It’s not something you want to lead the league in but at the same time, I’m making them hit instead of walking them for the most part.”

On the third anniversary of Radhames Liz’s nine-inning no-hitter at Prince George’s Stadium, the Baysox were made to sweat out four innings of no-hit pitching by Binghamton starter Chris Schwinden.  Joel Guzman broke it up with a bloop single to right field to open the fifth inning, a hit that would finally spark the Baysox offense into action.

Guzman moved around to third base on a pair of groundouts by third baseman Brandon Waring and first baseman Robbie Widlansky.  Left fielder Tyler Henson drew a walk to put runners on the corners before shortstop Carlos Rojas delivered a clutch double down the left field line to plate Guzman.  Right fielder Matt Tucker followed with another double to clear the bases and give the Baysox a 3-2 lead with his first two RBIs of the year.

“[Schwinden] had us off balance there for a little bit,” said catcher Caleb Joseph.  “It’s just a matter of time. We’ve got a good swinging club. We’re trying to figure it out right now. We just need to get into a groove and see some pitches. We did alright.”

The Baysox jumped on Schwinden again in the top of the sixth inning, as singles by second baseman Ryan Adams and Joseph put runners on the corners to open the inning.  Schwinden left the hill after Joseph’s hit, but was still on the hook as Adams scored on designated hitter Joel Guzman’s sacrifice fly and Henson drove in Joseph with a line drive single to right field.

Not content with a 5-2 lead, the Baysox continued to pile on in the top of the seventh.  Adams knocked a line drive into right field for a single, before Joseph came through with a home run to left field to put the Baysox ahead 7-2.  It was Joseph’s fourth homer of the season, and his first at Prince George’s Stadium.

The Baysox bullpen was on top of their game to seal the win, as Jim Hoey recorded the hold as he gave up two hits through two shutout innings, using a 96 mph fastball to notch three strikeouts.  Brandon Cooney took over in the final inning and closed out the game with no hits and two strikeouts.

Round two of the three-game series between Bowie and Binghamton is Wednesday at 7:05.  The Erie SeaWolves will roll into town for three more games starting Friday in a series that features two of the most highly anticipated events of the year at Prince George’s Stadium.  Friday, June 4, is Legends of Wrestling Night, where fans can meet and get autographs from three-time WWF champion and New York Times bestselling author Mick Foley.  That Saturday is Louie’s Big Birthday Bash, as the Baysox loveable green mascot will celebrate his birthday in style with several of his mascot friends and a pre-game concert for kids by Milkshake.  Louie’s Kids Club members and their parents can buy tickets for $12 that include admission to the pre-game concert, a lower reserved ticket in Louie’s Birthday Section, a wristband for free rides and games in Louie’s Kids Park, birthday cake, and a goody bag.  To order tickets, fans can contact Baysox Community Programs Manager Dana DeFilippo at (301) 464-4871 before 5 p.m. Thursday, June 3.

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