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Baysox Rock The Rock Cats

| August 13, 2011, 11:28 PM | 0 Comments

The Baysox used a four-run eighth inning to come from behind and beat the New Britain Rock Cats 8-5 at home Saturday evening. With the win, the Baysox improve to 67-52 on the season and move into first place in the Western Division after a loss by Harrisburg.

The middle of the Baysox line-up was dangerous Saturday as three-hole hitter L.J. Hoes led the team with three runs, and clean-up hitter Joe Mahoney led the team with three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs.

“It’s good when there’s guys on base, it gives you extra incentive up there and they gave me some good pitches to hit,” Mahoney said “I’m just trying to be patient, it’s hard to hit balls that aren’t strikes. I’m just getting in good counts and pitchers have to come to me because I have good hitters behind me so I’m taking advantage of good pitches.”

Designated hitter Brandon Waring hit a two-run home run to cap off the four-run eighth inning the Baysox used to take the lead from New Britain Saturday. It was his team-leading 18th home run of the season and his 41st career home run with the Baysox, placing him just one home run behind Keith Reed as career Baysox home run leader.

“It’s always fun when you get to put your name in the history books,” Waring said. “[Keith Reed] did it over four seasons and I’m doing over two so I’ve definitely had two good years in the power category.”

In the top of the second inning, Evan Bigley thought he had given the Rock Cats an early lead when he hit a deep fly ball to left-center field off left-handed starting pitcher Mike Ballard. However, center fielder Xavier Avery was able to make a leaping catch at the wall to rob Bigley of a home run and preserve the 0-0 tie.

“I didn’t think it was gone at first, but it just kept going and going,” Avery said. “I got to the wall and I remember hearing LJ say jump and I jumped and I remember my arm hitting the fence, but I didn’t know if it was out. LJ told me that it was gone and it took me about five seconds to realize that I had robbed him. That was my first one, I was shocked.”

The Baysox instead took the early lead in the third inning against New Britain starter Bobby Lanigan. Right fielder Bobby Stevens led off with a single up the middle and with one out, second baseman Greg Miclat hit a single to right field to put runners at first and second. Hoes knocked in Stevens with a single to right field and Miclat also scored on the play when Bigley misplayed the ball, allowing Hoes to go to third base. The next batter, Mahoney, hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Hoes and gave the Baysox a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Rock Cats got on the board against left-handed starting pitcher Mike Ballard on a lead off home run by Michael Hollimon to cut the lead to 3-1.

The Rock Cats took the lead in the top of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and no one out, Evan Bigley hit a two-run double up the left field line to tie the game. Ballard was then replaced by reliever Armando Gabino. The first batter that Gabino faced, Nate Hanson, hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Bigley also came in to score when shortstop Pedro Florimon dropped the throw from the outfield to give the Rock Cats a 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Baysox got one run back. Hoes drew a lead off walk and then scored on a double to center field by Mahoney to make the score 5-4. Mahoney was stranded at second base after the next three batters were retired in order.

The Baysox rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning against New Britain reliever Dakota Watts. With one out, Hoes singled through the hole at shortstop and then Mahoney tied the game with his second straight RBI double to left field. Third baseman Buck Britton then gave the Baysox the lead with a double down the left field line that scored Mahoney. Waring followed with the two-run home run to left field, his fourth long ball in the last five games to give the Baysox an 8-4 lead.

“It was a big situation – Joe and Buck had big hits and Buck was on second so I was just looking for a pitch to hit early in the count,” Waring said. “They had been throwing me a lot of sliders tonight so I figured I would get one of those first pitch and he left one over the plate to hit.”

Ballard pitched five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits while striking out six, but he did not factor into the decision.

“I guess more than anything I just got a little high in the zone and any pitcher will tell you that once you get up in the zone like that good things never happen,” Ballard said. “I don’t know if it was a fatigue situation or anything like that but I just left some pitches up and they were able to string some hits together and before you know it I was out of there.”

Gabino pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Ballard and allowed two hits while striking out four to earn the win. Gabino’s three solid innings of relief helped keep the Baysox in the game long enough to mount their rally in the eighth inning.

“Gabino came in and did a great job pitching to contact,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “He was the big guy tonight because he held a pretty good ball club in check. He got the deep sac fly and they got two runs out of it, but he gets the next two guys and keeps it right there where it’s a manageable game with some innings left to go.”

Right-handed closer Jose Diaz pitched the ninth inning for the Baysox and recorded the save, his 18th of the season and first with the Baysox since June 1.

Sunday, the Baysox finish their series against New Britain with a doubleheader. RHP Tim Bascom (8-2, 3.19) takes the mound for the Baysox in game 1 and his opponent will be LHP Andrew Albers (3-1, 4.24). In game 2, RHP Matt Schuld (0-2, 8.18) will take the mound for the Rock Cats.

The Baysox are home through Sunday, Aug. 14 for a home stand that includes the Diamond Dig and fireworks Sunday, Aug. 14. After an off day Monday, the Baysox travel to Richmond to begin a six-game road trip.

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 or by calling the Baysox box office at (301) 464-4865.

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