The Baysox defeated the Trenton Thunder 9-7 Sunday night at Prince George’s Stadium in a 16-run, 32-hit slugfest. The win extends Bowie’s home winning streak to five games and guarantees them a series victory heading into the All-Star break. The Baysox broke out offensively as five hitters recorded multi-hit performances. Baysox third baseman Ryan Adams went 4-for-5 with two doubles and right fielder Joel Guzman went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in four runs while extending his team-leading RBI total to 61.
Both starters, right-hander Ryohei Tanaka for the Baysox and southpaw Wilkin de la Rosa for the Thunder, struggled mightily, surrendering five earned runs each.
In the bottom of the first inning, Guzman drove in shortstop Greg Miclat on a grounder up the middle to score the game’s first run. With runners on first and third and one down, first baseman Joe Mahoney doubled to deep center field driving in Adams from third to give Bowie a 2-0 lead. Trenton center fielder Justin Christian had a beat on the fly ball but was unable to reel it in, allowing the ball to pop out of his glove before it landed on the warning track.
Tanaka gave up that lead in the top half of the second inning. After Justin Snyder scored from third base on a sacrifice fly, Justin Christian singled to right field. Guzman mishandled the ball, allowing Edwar Gonzalez to score all the way from first base, tying the ballgame at two apiece. On the following play, Luis Nunez singled to left fielder Tyler Henson, who ended the rally with a hard throw to the plate that beat Christian as he tried to score from second.
In the bottom of the second, the Baysox retaliated with three runs of their own, reclaiming the lead 5-2. After a leadoff walk by Figueroa, second baseman Carlos Rojas doubled to right field, driving in Figueroa from first. Miclat followed with a single to center, advancing Rojas to third with still nobody out. Adams lined his 25th double of the season to left field, driving in Rojas. On the next play, Henson hit a sharp grounder down the first base line that was snagged by the first baseman Marcos Vechionacci, who promptly stepped on first to retire Henson. Vechionacci threw to second to retire Adams, who was caught between second and third after rolling his ankle trying to cut back to the base. Guzman singled to left, driving in Miclat to extend the Baysox lead to 5-2 after two innings.
“The guys came out ready to play,” said Field Coach Moe Hill. “Today, we didn’t do very much on the field. [Before the game, we] had a short round of BP and took a short infield practice, got ourselves ready to play. Evidently, [the Thunder] did too, they swung the bats well also.”
Tanaka settled down in the top half of the third, retiring the side in order. However, in the top of the fourth, he ran into more trouble, surrendering three runs as the Thunder singled, doubled, and tripled in the inning to even the score at 5-5. The inning ultimately proved to be Tanaka’s last inning of the ballgame. It was his third consecutive start in which he has allowed at least five earned runs.
“I’m sure Tanaka is disappointed, and I am as well,” said Pitching Coach Kennie Steenstra. “We gave him some runs early, and gave him a chance to hopefully give us five or six [innings] and come out of it with a win, but things didn’t go his way tonight. He had a couple plays where the ball wasn’t hit hard but just found holes and then he made some bad pitches behind it. I’m concerned whenever anybody is struggling a bit, but I know the kind of pitcher he is and the kind of guy he is, and I think he’ll bounce back from it.”
The Baysox reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Designated hitter Brandon Waring hit a two-out ground rule double to right field and scored on a bloop single by catcher Caleb Joseph to give Bowie a 6-5 edge after five innings. The Baysox are 28-5 this year when taking a lead into the sixth inning.
The Baysox tacked on two more in the sixth inning to extend their lead to 8-5. Second baseman Carlos Rojas led off with a single to left field. Adams tagged his fourth hit and second double of the game to right field, putting runners on second and third with one out for his third four-hit game of season. With the two doubles, Adams moves into second place on the Eastern League doubles leaderboard.
“You play every day and tonight, I just got some good pitches to hit,” said Adams. “I took advantage of my opportunities and it was a good game.”
Two batters later, Guzman drove in his third and fourth runs of the game as Rojas and Adams crossed the plate to give the Baysox an 8-3 cushion heading into the latter stages of the game.
Right-handed reliever Eddie Gamboa entered the game in the fifth inning and pitched three shutout innings, putting him in line for the win.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mahoney and Waring led off with back-to-back doubles, extending the Baysox lead to four runs. Bowie hit seven doubles in the ball game, shattering their previous season high of five.
Despite the four run deficit, Trenton continued to fight. The Thunder scored once in the top of the eighth off of right-handed reliever Jim Hoey, narrowing the margin to 9-6.
With the game seemingly in hand, reliever Brandon Cooney was brought on in the ninth inning for the save. Cooney allowed the leadoff hitter to reach on a single up the middle. The 6’6” reliever struck out the next batter to bring the Baysox within two outs of the victory. However, Trenton would not give in. With one on and one out, Jack Rye doubled to left on a line drive that was just out of Henson’s reach as he made a diving attempt for the ball. The double allowed the runner on first to score, bringing the Thunder within two runs. Cooney walked the next hitter putting the potential tying run on base.
Snyder, who had already doubled twice in the ball game, hit a line shot right at Mahoney and the first baseman snagged the ball out of the air and stepped on first doubling off Rene Rivera, to end the ballgame. Cooney earned his first save of his AA career.
“Both teams swung it pretty well tonight,” said Steenstra. “We brought in some pretty good arms at the end and they still scratched together some hits and put some rallies together. That’s a pretty good hitting team.”
The victory puts the Baysox in position to sweep the four game series with Trenton when Bowie sends lefty Nate Nery to the mound on Monday at 11:05 a.m.
Most of the Baysox will get two well-deserved days off for the All-Star break after Monday’s game, except for Guzman, Henson and reliever Pedro Beato, who have been selected to participate in the Eastern League All-Star Game in Harrisburg at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. After the break, the Baysox hit the road for four games in Richmond before they return for a seven-game home stand against Binghamton and Richmond that begins at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, July 19. That Monday game against Binghamton is the Baysox second annual Mustache Mania, where fans can show their ‘stache to save some cash; fans sporting a moustache — natural, drawn or taped on — can get a half-price lower reserved ticket at the box office. Saturday, July 24 is Star Wars Night, one of the most eagerly anticipated events at the ballpark this season, with lightsaber battles between innings by reenactors in authentic replica Star Wars costumes.