Bowie, Md. – The Baysox came out ahead 7-5 against the Akron Aeros Thursday evening in a game that included four ties to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern League Divisional playoffs.
I know we play 142 games, but when you get into the playoffs, the excitement is a little different,” said Baysox reliever Chris Petrini, who picked up the win Thursday. “This was just one of those games that was back and forth and it was all about who was going to falter first.”
The Baysox scored two late runs on a hit batter with the bases loaded and a wild pitch with a runner on third to tie the game and take the lead for the last time in the eighth inning. Six of the Baysox seven runs came with two outs in the inning, including the final two runs in the eighth inning that sealed the Baysox victory.
“The guys really pulled together,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “A misplayed ground ball and a throwing error opened the door for us and then we got a couple hits and came out smelling like a rose. I like how we hung together after they struck first. We have had a lot of two out rallies this year – I wish it wouldn’t come to that sometimes.”
Bowie got off to a rough start and allowed Akron to strike first in the top of the first inning against Baysox starter Mike Wright. Jordan Henry hit a lead off double to left field and moved to third base when Tyler Holt reached on a sacrifice bunt and a fielding error by Wright. Lonnie Chisenhall plated Henry with a sacrifice fly that gave Akron a 1-0 lead.
The Baysox tied the game in the bottom half of the inning against Akron starter T.J. House. Second baseman Ty Kelly hit a two out double to right field and left fielder Robbie Widlansky followed with a single that plated Kelly and tied the game 1-1.
Right fielder Ronnie Welty gave the Baysox the lead in the bottom of the second inning when he hit a two-out solo home run for the second night in a row to make the score 2-1.
Akron scored their own two-out run in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs, Matt Lawson was hit by a pitch and Adam Abraham followed with a walk. Ryan Rohlinger plated Lawson with a single to center field that tied the game 2-2.
The Baysox took the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning. Designated hitter Caleb Joseph got the scoring started with a solo home run to left-center field. First baseman Rhyne Hughes followed with a double to left field and moved to third base on a groundout by Zelous Wheeler before scoring when Welty singled to center field to give the Baysox a 4-2 lead.
The Aeros fought back in the top of the sixth inning. Lawson hit a lead off triple to right field and Rohlinger hit a one-out homerun into left field to give Akron a 5-4 lead. Petrini replaced Wright on the mound to finish the inning.
“After that home run got hit and they brought me in, I just tried to get us back in that dugout and throw a couple zeros to let our offense get some confidence back,” Petrini said. “Right away we put up some runs and just stuck with it. At that point you get excited and you just try to get everybody out.”
Bowie again tied the game in the bottom half of the inning against Akron reliever Trey Haley. Widlansky drew a lead off walk and moved to second base when Joseph singled to left. With two outs, Welty reached on a fielding error by the first baseman to load the bases and catcher Brian Ward was hit by a pitch to drive in a run and tie the game 5-5.
The Baysox took the lead for the third time in the bottom of the eighth inning against Akron reliever Shawn Armstrong. With two outs, Ward reached on a throwing error by the third baseman and moved to third base when center fielder Antoan Richardson doubled to right field. With Schoop batting, Ward scored on a wild pitch that moved Richardson to third base where he scored on a single to right field by Schoop to give the Baysox a 7-5 lead.
Wright pitched five and one-third innings and allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking one in the no decision. Petrini pitched two and two-thirds innings and allowed two hits while striking out four and walking one in the win. Baysox closer Kyler Newby recorded his second save of the series after pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Armstrong took the loss for Akron, pitching the eighth inning and allowing two unearned runs on two hits.
The Eastern League playoffs continue tomorrow as the Baysox travel to Akron for the final three games in their best-of-five series. LHP Jake Pettit takes the mound for the Baysox and he will be opposed by RHP Danny Salazar.