In his season debut, Bowie Baysox starting pitcher Oliver Drake had a dominating performance in Thursday evening's three-game series finale against the Altoona Curve.
Looking to avoid a sweep, Drake pitched a near-flawless six innings of play, striking out six batters with no walks and surrendering just one run on three hits. Despite his efforts, Bowie dropped its sixth consecutive game in a 4-2 defeat.
Of Drake's 79 pitches thrown, 53 of them went for strikes. He went out there and was able to control his off-speed pitches without much trouble and consistently hit 92-93 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball. Drake retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced through the first three innings, striking out five and making just one noticeable mistake: a solo home run to Altoona's second baseman Elevys Gonzalez.
It's great to have him back and healthy, said Manager Gary Kendall following the loss. He had a great start and had just one real mistake (the home run). We just weren't able to get him some run support tonight.
On the other side of things the Curve received a strong outing from its starter as well. Phil Irwin lasted 7 1/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
The four Curve runs came from two solo homers off the bats of Gonzalez and right fielder Miles Durham, his first in 11 at bats with Altoona. Gonzalez was responsible for two RBIs, hitting an RBI double in addition to the round tripper, and a sac fly from Altoona's Matt Curry rounds up the scoring for the away team.
The lone two runs scored for Bowie came thanks in part to a third inning RBI double from Steven Bumbry, tying the game at one apiece, and an RBI single from catcher Caleb Joseph, re-tying the game in the seventh inning.
Over the season-high six-game skid, Bowie has averaged just 2.16 runs per game and has hit .232 as a team.
I'm not concerned with our record right now, the season is still young. We just gotta get better, that's all it comes down to, Kendall said.
While the offensive woes continue there was at least good news for first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Waring (.281, 6 HR, 16 RBI) following the loss as he quickly found out he received a call from the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
Bowie (15-24) will open a three-game road series against Harrisburg on Friday night before heading back home for an eight-game home stand on Monday.