Bowie, Md. – The Baysox (53-50) shut out the Richmond Flying Squirrels (53-52) 4-0 behind strong pitching by Zach Clark to win the home series Wednesday night. With the win, the Baysox move to three games above .500 for the first time this season.
“We are two evenly matched teams,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “There are good players over there and good pitching, but we hung with them. We showed some late inning pushes the last two nights. We couldn’t figure [Westcott] out for a while, but we managed to get some big hits. For us to stay around in contention, this was a big series.”
Baysox right-handed starting pitcher Zach Clark threw seven scoreless innings and allowed seven hits while striking out three batters and walking three. It was his second consecutive start where he pitched seven scoreless innings and he leads the team with 10 wins this season.
“This is definitely the strongest I have felt in my career,” Clark said. “It’s the hardest I have thrown consistently. I have just started to feel good, and it’s the best I have felt in a long time.”
Runs were again hard to come by as it took seven innings for the first run to score, but baserunners were more common than in the first two games of the series. Richmond had a least one runner reach base in each of the first five innings, but each time Clark and the Baysox defense were able to rally and get out of the inning. The two teams combined to bat 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, but the two hits by the Baysox proved to be crucial.
It was the Baysox who broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning against Richmond starter Craig Westcott. Shortstop Manny Machado hit a lead off single to shortstop but was retired at second when first baseman Rhyne Hughes grounded into a force out. Left fielder Buck Britton then singled to left field and catcher Caleb Joseph drew a walk to load the bases. Center fielder Johnny Ruettiger grounded into a force out that eliminated Joseph at second but but scored Machado from third and Edwin Quirarte then replaced Westcott on the mound. Right fielder Josh Barfield drew a walk to again load the bases and second baseman Jonathan Schoop followed with a single to right field that scored two runs and gave the Baysox a 3-0 lead.
Bowie added another run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Richmond reliever Jacob Dunnington. Designated hitter Robbie Widlansky drew a lead off walk and Hughes hit a one out single to right field. With two outs, Joseph singled to left field to plate Widlansky before Hughes was caught in a rundown to end the inning with the Baysox leading 4-0.
Left-handed reliever Mike Belfiore earned his first save of the season, pitching the final two innings and allowing just one hit while striking out three batters and walking one.
Westcott earned the loss for Richmond, pitching six and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out one batter and walking four.
LHP Jake Pettit (7-2, 4.15) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they begin a four game series against the Akron Aeros.
The Baysox depart for a four game series in Akron beginning Thursday, July 26 and return home Tuesday, July 31 for a six game homestand.
Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your ‘Sox Off. The Baysox 20th season is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com, or by calling the Baysox box office at (301) 464-4865.