The Baysox (42-42) came up just short of completing a comeback finish in the series-opener against the Harrisburg Senators (44-40).
Celebrating America's 236th birthday on Wednesday evening, the Senators pulled away with a 7-5 win thanks to two ninth inning runs off reliever Kyler Newby.
Starting pitcher Zach Clark (7-4, 3.30 ERA) went five innings, surrendering four runs (all earned) on four hits while walking five. Harrisburg starter Daniel Rosenbaum (7-5, 3.17 ERA) got off to a nice start by retiring the first six Bowie batters. But the 'Sox offense piled five on him in the third and fourth innings, ending his day after six innings.
Clark didn't feel real good from the first inning on, stated Manager Gary Kendall following the loss. It was a battle for him just to get to where he did. He was able to get us to the fifth.
Just one day after a disastrous outing for Bowie's Bobby Bundy, allowing 10 earned runs in just 0.2 innings pitched, the Baysox were short-handed in the reliever department.
We had just three guys available tonight, Kendall said. We also had Pat Egan in the bullpen (in addition to Newby and Pedro Viola) but beyond him it probably would have had to be a position player.
Luckily for the bullpen, however, one of four Bowie players selected to attend the Eastern League All-Star game in Reading, PA next Wednesday, Pedro Viola, put up an impressive stat-line. Relieving Clark of his duties following the fifth, Viola pitched three strong innings. Viola allowed one run on one hit (a Chris Rahl solo homer in the sixth) while striking out five batters.
Shortstop Manny Machado continues to heat up with the bat, leading Bowie's offense with a 2-for-4 night, scoring a run in the fourth inning following his 21st double of the season-tied for the team lead.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, 20 years old and another All-Star selection, hit his seventh homer on the year in the third inning. The round tripper put Bowie back in the game, nearly matching Harrisburg's four-run inning. Schoop then attempted to rally his teammates with a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Schoop came around to score minutes later on a Josh Barfield single to right field, his 16th RBI on the year. But the rally was short-lived as Robbie Widlansky-yet another All-Star this season-grounded out on a play at second base to end the scoring threat and the game.
Give them credit. They got big hits in the ninth inning to pull away, Kendall said of the Senators' victory.
Hector Nelo managed to record his 10th save of the season as his Senators pulled two games ahead of the 'Sox in the Western Division.
Game two of the three game series is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start time on Thursday evening and will feature Jacob Pettit (6-1, 3.82 ERA) on the mound for the Baysox against Harrisburg's Kevin Pucetas (6-3, 3.24 ERA).