The Bowie Baysox took a 2-2 game into extra innings before the Harrisburg Senators came up with three solo home runs in the top of the 12th inning to defeat the Baysox 5-2. Starting pitcher Zach Britton gave up just two hits through 6.0 shutout innings, and received most of his support from shortstop Carlos Rojas, who went 4-for-5 at the plate, the sixth time a Baysox player has done so this season.
It was Britton’s sixth consecutive quality start, but the first time in five starts against the Senators that he did not record a win. His ERA dropped to 2.62, fourth-best in the Eastern League.
“When I came into this year, I felt like if I get the change-up down, I’m ready for whatever the next step is,” Britton said. “Today, I threw 20 [change-ups]. I feel like today was the day when I was like, ‘Dang, it’s getting better every time I throw it.’ Every time I let one come out of my hand, I can feel like I have to make an adjustment here or there. I threw a lot them 3-1 and guys were so far in front, it made my other pitches so much better which is what you want to do.”
After five and a half scoreless innings, the Baysox finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rojas led off the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Danny Figueroa, who ended up beating the throw to second baseman Josh Johnson, who was covering first base. The throw, by first baseman Chris Marrero, got away from Johnson, allowing Rojas and Figueroa to move into scoring position with no outs. Second baseman Ryan Adams drove both runners across the plate for a 2-0 lead with a single down the right field line, bringing his RBI total to 26 on the year.
Right-handed relievers Jim Hoey and Brandon Cooney pitched nearly identical hitless innings in the seventh and eighth innings as they each allowed a walk to record holds. Hoey has not allowed a run in his last 16.1 innings on the mound, lowering his ERA to 2.45.
Pedro Beato took over in the ninth inning with a chance to record his fifth save of the year, but immediately found himself in trouble. Marrero and right fielder Edgardo Baez each hit singles before center fielder Michael Martinez walked to load the bases. Outfielder Marvin Lowrance knocked a line drive single into center field, sending Marrero across the plate as Baez was held at third. Catcher Jhonatan Solano grounded into a double play to shortstop that gave the Baysox two much-needed outs, but Baez scored to tie the game at 2-2.
The Baysox moved the leadoff runners to second base in the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings, but were unable to push the winning run across.
Solano and third baseman Tim Pahuta welcomed Baysox reliever Josh Perrault to the game with back-to-back home runs in the top of the 12th inning. Perrault struck out Johnson before Washington Nationals shortstop prospect Danny Espinosa launched another solo bomb over the right field wall. The deflated Baysox managed to put a runner aboard with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning, but couldn’t get any further as they took the 5-2 loss.
“Pedro [Beato] came out and had a bit of bad luck early on with a couple of those first hits and then walks a guy and made a couple of bad pitches from there,” said Pitching Coach Kennie Steenstra. “But, he settled down and pitched better his second and third innings. Josh [Perrault] just didn’t look like he had it tonight; it didn’t look like there was much on the ball tonight.”
“We had some guys in scoring position, but we just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” said Baysox Manager Brad Komminsk. “That’s how it goes. They got a couple big hits in the ninth inning to tie it up, and we just couldn’t answer back.”
The loss drops the Baysox to 35-33 on the season, but they stay put in second place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, nine games behind league leaders Altoona.
The Baysox return to action with one more game against the Senators on Sunday in a 2 p.m. Father’s Day game, which gives families the opportunity to play catch on the outfield and meet the Baysox players and coaches in a free autograph session before the game from 12:30-1:15 p.m. Sunday’s game also gives fans ages 18 and up a chance to win a big screen TV courtesy of Best Buy of Bowie in the Miss Utility Diamond Dig.