Bowie, Md. – Harrisburg (44-40) rallied to break a tie with two runs in the top of the ninth inning as they slipped past the Baysox (42-42) 7-6 during the Independence Day Celebration Wednesday evening.
Despite trailing 4-0 to start the game, the Baysox offense was able to battle back and take the lead before falling in the ninth inning.
“I was pleased with how we responded, coming back from a 4-0 deficit against a good team and a pitcher who has been very successful in the league,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “To our credit, I really liked the way we battled back.”
Harrisburg struck first in the top of the second inning against right-handed starting pitcher Zach Clark, who was struggling with his command. Chris Rahl drew a one out walk and moved to second base when Zach Walters grounded out. Sandy Leon singled to right field to plate Rahl and he later stole second base before Justin Bloxom also drew a two-out walk. Sean Nicol doubled to right field to clear the bases and he came around to score when Eury Perez singled to left field to give the Senators a 4-0 lead.
The Baysox got three runs back in the bottom of the third inning against Harrisburg starter Danny Rosenbaum. Catcher Brian Ward drew a two-out walk and center fielder Antoan Richardson was then hit by a pitch. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop followed with a three-run home run to left field to make the score 4-3.
“It was an important home run because we were down,” Schoop said. “I was just trying to see the ball and I got it. Starting down four is tough, but we battled back against a tough team.”
Bowie jumped into the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with another two-out rally. Designated hitter Robbie Widlansky drew a lead off walk and moved to third base when shortstop Manny Machado doubled to left field. With one out, third baseman Zelous Wheeler reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Widlansky thrown out at home for the second out. Right fielder Jai Miller followed with a single to center field that scored Machado and moved Wheeler to second base where he scored on a single to center field by Ward to give the Baysox a 5-4 lead.
Harrisburg tied the game in the top of the sixth inning against left-handed reliever Pedro Viola when Rahl hit a solo home run to center field to lead off the inning and make the score 5-5.
The Senators retook the lead in the top of the ninth against Baysox reliever Kyler Newby. Leon hit a lead off single to center field and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Bloxom grounded out to advance Leon to third where he scored on a Sean Nicol single to center field. Perez reached on a groundout that eliminated Nicol at second base for the second out of the inning and he came around to score on a Jeff Kobernus double to right field to give the Senators a 7-5 lead.
Bowie mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning that fell just short. With two outs, Schoop doubled down the left field line and came around to score on a single to right field by left fielder Josh Barfield that made the score 7-6. Widlansky then grounded out to end the game.
Clark pitched five innings and allowed four runs on four hits while striking out three batters and walking five in the no decision. Viola pitched three innings and allowed one run on one hit while striking out five batters and walking one. He did not allow a hit after surrendering a lead off home run to the first batter he faced. Newby pitched one inning and allowed two runs on three hits in the loss.
Harrisburg reliever Pat McCoy earned the win, pitching one scoreless inning and allowing one hit and walking one batter while recording three strikeouts. Hector Nelo recorded his 10th save of the season.
LHP Jake Pettit (6-1, 3.82) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the second game in a three game series against the Harrisburg Senators. He will be opposed by RHP Kevin Pucetas (6-3, 3.24).