Celebrating 20 seasons of baseball, the Bowie Baysox began their 2012 campaign with a 4-2 victory over the Harrisburg Senators as more than 4,000 fans packed Prince George's Stadium to watch Thursday evening.
Bowie starting pitcher Tim Bascom (9-4, 3.11 ERA in 17 starts last season) picked up the win after a solid outing. He lasted six scoreless innings and surrendered just three hits to the Harrisburg hitters.
Top prospect Manny Machado stole the show with an eye-popping performance in his season debut. The 19-year old shortstop put the Baysox on the board first with a first-pitch solo home run in the bottom of the second inning.
Jonathan Schoop continued the scoring with a lead-off double to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning. He came around to score following a throwing error by Harrisburg's starting pitcher Robert Gilliam (0-1) on an Antoan Richardson infield bunt.
Bowie stretched the lead to 3-0 three batters later when right fielder Robbie Widlansky singled straight up the middle.
Machado finished the game going 2-for-4 with a single, home run and a stolen base. Playing solid defense at short all game long, Machado made just one mental mistake throughout his nine innings of play. While on the base paths, he was caught napping on second after a ground ball was hit up the middle to Harrisburg's pitcher in the fourth inning.
All but two Bowie starters finished the game with a base-hit, and third baseman Buck Britton added on to Machado's firepower with a towering solo home run to right field in the seventh inning.
Harrisburg, Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, boasted two major leaguers in their starting lineup. Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel-both on rehab assignments in hopes to return to the Nationals in 10 days-hit in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots for Harrisburg.
Before they were subbed out of the game in the sixth and eighth innings, Morse and Ankiel combined to go 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, one walk and left three on base.
Struggling to get runners on base through the first seven innings, Harrisburg finally got some runs on the board in the eight and ninth innings. A passed ball which bounced off catcher Caleb Joseph's glove and ricocheted off the umpire's mask allowed Harrisburg's Josh Johnson to touch home plate for the Senators' first run.
In the top of the ninth inning Bowie brought in reliever Ross Wolf to close the game out, but Morse's pinch hitter Chris Rahl took him deep to left-center field for a solo round tripper to lead off the inning. Wolf finished the game and recorded the save three batters later, handing Bowie its first victory of the season.
The second game of the four game weekend series is set for Friday night at 7:05.