Bowie, Md. – Baysox (42-43) first baseman Rhyne Hughes provided an offensive spark with a grand slam, but it wasn’t enough as the team still fell to the Harrisburg Senators (45-40) 8-6 Thursday night to drop down below .500.
The Baysox offense used two home runs to score six runs on six hits, but also struck out nine times while Harrisburg was more effective at spreading 13 hits throughout their lineup to score runs in four different innings.
The Baysox pitching staff has allowed seven or more runs in each of their past three games as the starting pitchers have struggled to limit the early damage.
“We have just been working uphill a little bit with our bullpen just because of how exposed it was on the road,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “When you have to run guys out there a little bit longer than you want to and you aren’t fresh, it affects you.”
Harrisburg struck first in the top of the third inning against Baysox left-handed starting pitcher Jake Pettit. Sean Nico hit a lead off triple to right-center field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Kobernus to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.
The Senators struck again in the top of the fourth inning. Chris Rahl hit a lead off single to center field and moved to third base when Zach Walters hit a one out single to center field. Sandy Leon plated Rahl with a sacrifice fly to center field and Justin Bloxom followed with a two-run home run to left field to give Harrisburg a 4-0 lead.
The Baysox tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning against Harrisburg reliever Robert Gilliam. Right fielder Josh Barfield drew a one out walk, designated hitter Robbie Widlansky was hit by a pitch and shortstop Manny Machado drew a walk to load the bases. Hughes brought everyone home with a grand slam home run to right field to tie the game 4-4. It was Hughes’ first grand slam of the season and the team’s second.
“I wasn’t trying to hit a grand slam, but I was looking for something up to try to get at least one run across,” Hughes said. “We were down four there and I just wanted to get something on the board.”
Harrisburg retook the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Jimmy Van Ostrand hit a solo home run to right-center field to give the Senators a 5-4 lead.
The Senators extended their lead in the top of the seventh inning. Eury Perez hit a one out single to center field and stole second and third base with Kobernus batting. Kobernus singled to center field to bring Perez home and right-handed reliever Pat Egan then replaced Pettit on the mound. The first batter Egan faced, Destin Hood, doubled to left field to plate Kobernus and Rahl followed with a walk. With two outs, Walters walked to load the bases and Leon singled to left field to plate Hood before Rahl was thrown out at home to end the inning with Harrisburg leading 8-4.
Bowie cut into the lead in the top of the eighth inning against Zech Zinicola. Ronnie Welty hit a pinch-hit single to left field and scored when shortstop Manny Machado hit a towering home run to left field to make the score 8-6.
Pettit pitched six and one-third innings and allowed seven runs on 11 hits while striking out two batters in the loss. Egan pitched two and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out one batter and walking two.
Erik Davis earned the win for Harrisburg, pitching three scoreless innings and allowing two hits while striking out two batters.
LHP Rick Zagone (1-1, 4.85) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the final game in a three game series against the Harrisburg Senators. He will be opposed by RHP Ryan Tatusko (1-2, 4.76).