Akron scored two runs in the top of the tenth inning to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Baysox 4-2 Saturday night. Right fielder Ronnie Welty hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it was not enough as the Baysox fell to 18-18 and out of first place in the Western Division.
Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson pitched six innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits while striking out six. Johnson kept the Baysox in the game early, but the offense struggled to get runs across the board despite coming through with nine hits and a number of quality at bats.
“Four different guys had nine pitch at bats – there’s times in this game when the scoreboard doesn’t show everything,” said Hitting Coach Denny Hocking. “You could say the same thing about them – they had 13 hits, but only scored four runs. We just didn’t get it done. I wasn’t excited tonight about how many times we chased pitches against their starter.”
Akron struck first in the top of the third inning when Donnie Webb doubled to right field. Tim Fedroff then hit a one out ground ball single into center field that moved Webb to third where he scored on a double to left field by Juan Diaz to put the Aeros up 1-0. Akron tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Chun Chen hit a lead off solo home run to left-center field on a 1-1 pitch.
“He [Steve] pitched pretty well,” said Pitching coach Kennie Steenstra. “He made the one mistake for a home run, but outside of that he did a good job minimizing damage in the one inning where he gave up the run and had second and third out there. He’s been pitching pretty well lately and anytime that starter’s giving us six or seven innings and keeping us in the game, it’s a good night.”
The Baysox ended a 14 inning scoreless streak in the bottom of the fifth inning. First baseman Brandon Waring hit a lead off single to left field and designated hitter Robbie Widlansky followed with a single to shallow left field that moved Waring to third. Waring scored when Welty reached first on a fielding error by shortstop Juan Diaz to bring the Baysox back to 2-1.
After trailing since the third inning, the Baysox tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Welty hit a lead off home run to left field on a 2-2 pitch that put the game into extra innings.
“I was just trying to have a good at bat,” Welty said. “He’s painting a couple good pitches on the outside corner and I’m just trying to battle and ended up getting a good pitch to hit over the plate.”
Akron took the lead for good in the top of the tenth inning as rain began to fall on the field. Facing left-handed relief pitcher Pedro Viola, John Drennen hit a two out ground ball single into center field. Chen then hit his second home run of the game to right-center field to put the Aeros up for good 4-2.
Left-handed reliever Cole McCurry pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Johnson Saturday night. In nine appearances with the Baysox, McCurry has not allowed an earned run in eight straight appearances and 19.2 innings.
“I have just been trying to throw strikes and the catcher has done a great job calling the game and I’ve just been trying to pitch to early contact,” McCurry said. “I was trying to keep them off balance early and focus on throwing all my pitches for strikes and change speeds well.”
One of the Baysox biggest problems Saturday night was getting clutch hits with runners in scoring position. After going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position Friday, Bowie hitters were 0-for-5 Saturday. The Baysox hit into three double plays in the game, which ended several scoring chances for Bowie.
Sunday, RHP Mitch Atkins (1-1, 3.20) takes the mound for the Baysox in the series finale against Akron. His opponent will be LHP TJ Matt Packer (0-5, 5.18).
The Baysox are at home through Sunday, May 15, which is Bark in the Park Day. The team begins a three-day road trip starting May 17 and returns home Friday, May 20 for a three-game home stand. For more information on Baysox promotions and theme nights, visit www.baysox.com.
Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your ‘Sox Off. The Baysox 19th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com.