The Bowie Baysox won their fourth straight game Wednesday night, 8-5 over the Binghamton Mets. Right-handed reliever Pat Egan took the team lead in saves with his fourth of the year, as he held off a late rally by the B-Mets. The win gives Bowie sole possession of second place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, seven games behind league leaders Altoona.
Starting pitcher Chorye Spoone gave up a pair of early home runs to Binghamton second baseman Reese Havens, but they were the only hits he would give up as he recorded the win with three runs off two this through 6.0 innings. It was Spoone’s fourth consecutive quality start and brought his ERA down to 4.27. Spoone is enjoying his best run of form in three years; he last notched four quality starts in a row in 2007, when he had five consecutive from June 19 to August 11.
“In the bullpen, I looked a lot better than when I started the game,” Spoone said. “I was kind of up in the zone and all over the place but I was able to make the pitches that I wanted when I needed to. Overall, I feel just as good as I have been; I’m still getting better and better. I’ve been feeling great, I’ve just got to keep things consistent.”
It has been a hard road back for Spoone after the shoulder surgery he underwent in September 2008 before spending all of last year rehabilitating in the lower levels of the Orioles farm system. He says that he expects to be 100 percent by the All-Star break, but knows that he still has some kinks to iron out.
“I need to consistently throw my breaking balls sharp,” he said. “Every now and then I find myself burying them into the ground rather than just throwing them softer but still having enough break on them so that everything’s the same coming off my arm and I’m not changing anything. The only other thing is my command. In my earlier starts, my command was a lot better, tonight it was down a little bit where I’d run through three hitters real easy with great command. But then, I’d come out and it’s 2-0, groundout. 2-0, one strike, groundout. 3-1 and I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get a groundout.’ Other than that, my stuff has been coming back great.
“I’ve always been a second-half pitcher, so this is a good sign for me that everything is coming back so quickly,” Spoone continued. “I expect so much of myself that whether it’s April 1, or September 1, I want to be the best I can so I’m really happy with how things have turned out. Not that everybody has been saying that they weren’t expecting me to do well, but I have a feeling that they weren’t expecting me to have so much success that I’ve had so far this early in the year.”
Down 3-0 off Reese’s two home runs, the Baysox started to battle back in the bottom of the fourth inning. First baseman Robbie Widlansky drew a leadoff walk and left fielder Tyler Henson followed with a moonshot to right-center field that cut the deficit to 3-2. It was Henson’s fourth round-tripper of the year.
“[The count was] was 2-0, [Binghamton starter Brad Holt] burned me in with some fastballs,” Henson said. “I knew he was having some trouble throwing strikes, so I set myself for a fastball over the middle of the plate and got it, put a good swing on it, and it went out of the park.”
The Baysox poured it on in the fifth inning, which would end up their most productive of the season to date. The Baysox sent 11 batters to the plate, starting with second baseman Ryan Adams’s lead-off walk. The bases were soon loaded after a Joel Guzman base hit and another walk to third baseman Brandon Waring. Two runs scored on first baseman Robbie Widlansky’s line drive to center field that plated Adams before Guzman scored on the center fielder’s error. Henson added another RBI with a double to center that sent Waring home from second and left Widlansky at third to bring his total to 28.
The bases were soon loaded again, as Binghamton intentionally walked designated hitter Steve Lerud. Shortstop Carlos Rojas drove in a run the easy way, taking four pitches for balls to turn the carousel as Widlansky jogged across the plate. Center fielder Jonathan Tucker delivered one more run with a bloop single to left field that plated Henson. When the dust settled, the Baysox had taken a 7-3 lead.
The B-Mets shaved a run off the lead in the top of the eighth inning, loading the bases against former big league reliever Mike Hinckley with one out. Designated hitter Marshall Hubbard drove Havens in with a ground out to Rojas at short.
Tucker opened the bottom half of the eighth with a double to left field and stole third base during catcher Caleb Joseph’s at-bat with one out. Guzman drove him in for a critical insurance run with a line drive to left field.
That run seemed very important in the final inning, as reliever Ryan Ouellette worked himself into trouble. He walked third baseman Eric Campbell to start the inning, then gave up a single to Carlos Guzman that moved Campbell to third. Ouellette allowed Campbell to score off catcher Omir Santos’s line drive single to right and yielded the mound to Baysox wins leader Pat Egan. The tall right-hander took command of the situation with a putout at first base and a pair of strikeouts to end the game.
“Any time you get the leadoff walk with a four-run lead in the ninth, that’s a recipe for disaster,” said Pitching Coach Kennie Steenstra. “Then, [Ouellette] hung a slider to the guy who hit it down the right field corner and threw a couple bad pitches there. We had Egan loose the inning before, and he’s been awfully solid in there. If we leave [Ouellette] in there, he may very well get out of it, but it’s the call you have to make at that time.”
The Baysox will go for the three-game sweep of the Mets in their final game on Thursday, at 7:05 p.m. 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. on Thursday, June 3.