Bowie opened its season with a 4-2 victory over the Harrisburg Senators, but have struggled to put runs on the board since then. Slow offensive starts have haunted the Baysox the last couple of games, and Monday night's series opener against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (2-3) was no different.
Through the first six innings of play, Bowie scored one run on just three hits against Richmond's starter Mike Kickham. The run, coming in the top of the third, was due in part by a little bit of 'small ball.' Brandon Waring led off the inning with a walk, setting up leadoff man and left fielder Travis Adair to bunt him over to second. Pitcher Kickham went to field Adair's bunt but threw it over first baseman Wes Hodges' head. Waring advanced to third base, and Adair to second. L.J. Hoes hit Waring in on a routine ground out to shortstop one batter later.
Zach Clark got the start on the mound for Bowie, his first of the season. Last season Clark went 10-9 with a 5.00 ERA in 23 starts with Bowie. Clark allowed five earned runs on 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings pitched. Reliever Stuart Pomeranz (five Ks in 2.1 innings of relief) made his second appearance of 2012 after Clark's day was ended.
Left fielder Chris Dominguez led the power surge for the Flying Squirrels, going 4-for-4 on the day with two singles, a double and a solo home run that put Richmond up 2-1 in the fourth inning. He finished the game a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Kickham looked great for Richmond, but his day was cut short after his pitch count (71 pitches) went up early in the game. He surrendered just the one run on one hit through 3.2 innings. He was unable to earn the win because he did not pitch enough innings.
A two-run sixth inning for Richmond extended the lead to 5-1 after catcher Johnny Monell hit in his second run of the game. He scored on a Ryan Cavan single to right field two batters later.
Shortstop Manny Machado put the Baysox back in the game with a three-run homer to deep left-center field. Machado's second home run of the season scored Adair and Hoes, and put the 'Sox within a run of the Flying Squirrels.
I was just looking for a pitch to hit and put the ball in play. Fortunately he made a mistake an I capitalized on it, Machado said of his home run following the game.
When the 19-year old was asked how he was doing with the adjustments to Double-A ball, he said I haven't adapted yet. I'm still trying to get used to it. I feel great, and fielding just comes naturally to me.
Though the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters for Bowie (Machado and first baseman Tyler Townsend) struck out two straight times to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with two runners on base, Manager Gary Kendall continues to stay positive.
Following the 5-4 loss, Kendall said We got a lot of positives out of this game. It was in reach but we just didn't execute. We had our chances, Clark is usually much sharper.
He continued, I'd be more alarmed if we were in the middle of the season.
If anyone out there was worried about L.J. Hoes' slow start to the season, don't be. The outfielder is hitting .118 (2-for-17) with just one RBI and two runs scored, but Kendall says L.J. is going to be fine. He had a slow start last year too. He was taking some extra batting practice earlier today, and he hit the ball pretty hard today.
Bowie will look to end its four-game skid on Tuesday evening in game two of a three-game series with Richmond. First pitch will be 7:05 pm with Tim Bascom (1-0) set to make his second start of the season against Richmond's Justin Fitzgerald