April 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 56 F

Late Inning Surge Not Enough; Baysox Fall to Rubber Ducks

Despite another strong collective pitching performance, and a three-hit night from Heston Kjerstad, the Bowie Baysox offense was unable to crack the code of a tough pitching staff in a 3-2 defeat to the Akron RubberDucks on Thursday night.  

The contest followed several consistent themes for the Baysox throughout the series. It began with Bowie once again striking first for the sixth consecutive contest to open the 2023 campaign. The Baysox had a tall task ahead of them, with Guardians’ No. 2 prospect Gavin Williams opposing Baysox starter Justin Armbruester on the mound. However, Bowie ambushed the hard-throwing right-hander out of the gates.  

Billy Cook led off the bottom of the first with a seven pitch battle ending in a single to extend his hitting streak to four games. He was swiftly doubled home on a hit-and-run by Heston Kjerstad, giving the Baysox an early 1-0 lead.  

It looked like Bowie had an opportunity to put up a rare, crooked number against one of the top arms in Minor League Baseball. However, Kjerstad was thrown out at third trying to tag up on a Coby Mayo fly out to right field in the very next plate appearance. Cesar Prieto doubled to left field soon after – his fifth straight game with a hit – but the Baysox were unable to add another run in the frame. 

From that point on, The Bowie bats went silent. For the second consecutive game, the Baysox only managed a single hit between the third and seventh inning against Akron pitching. Bowie left 10 runners stranded on base, including two runners left in scoring position in the fifth, when Mayo struck out to cap off the night for Williams.  

Armbruester allowed a few deep fly balls to the warning track through the first three innings but was able to keep the RubberDucks at bay. However, in the fourth a leadoff double by Julian Escobedo advanced to third on a wild pitch, before he was plated on an RBI single by Jonathan Rodriguez to tie the game. It was the first run allowed by Armbruester in eight innings on the season. Upon re-entering for the fifth, he walked the nine-hole hitter in Michael Amditis and the leadoff hitter Petey Halpin, ending his evening. Right-hander Kade Strowd took over, and after allowing another walk to load the bases with one out, drew a weak ground ball from Bryan Lavastida that prevented a double play and allowed a run to score on the fielder’s choice and gave the RubberDucks a 2-1 lead. 

Strowd would limit the damage and get out of the frame, despite inheriting the tough situation. Right-hander Connor Gillespie would go the rest of the way for Bowie. He was solid through his four innings, that began by striking out three of the first four hitters he would face. However, the only hit allowed by Gillispie would be a crucial one, as he surrendered a solo home run to Escobedo – his second of the series and on the season. Escobedo has been a huge threat to the Baysox in the series, going 8-for-12 with seven extra-base hits through the first three games.  

Bowie, much like on Tuesday’s series opener, attempted to charge back late. Kjerstad jacked his third long ball of the season to left-center field in the bottom of the eighth. Mayo and Shayne Fontana followed up by reaching base, with each getting into scoring position before John Rhodes struck out to end the frame.  

Bowie would once again mount a late surge in the bottom of the ninth. Zach Watson led off the inning with a single, before making it to third on a one-out base hit by Gilbert Lara, with Lara taking second on the throw. A chopper to third from the top of the lineup in Cook saw Watson try to score, but he was thrown out at home by Gabriel Rodriguez for the second out. Kjerstad was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, before Mayo put a charge into outfield that was straight at the left fielder Jonathan Rodriguez to end the game. 

The loss drops the Baysox back to .500 at 3-3. They’ll continue the series with the RubberDucks Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.  

Previous Article

Daily News Brief | April 14, 2023

Next Article

The Potential Of Blockchain Technology To Transform Healthcare

You might be interested in …