BOWIE – As the weather has gotten hotter, so have the Bowie Baysox.
A three-run second inning and a four-run fourth inning were enough for Bowie to hold off a late comeback by the Harrisburg Senators to finish off with a 7-5 win and a four-game sweep on July 7.
The sweep was the 10th straight series win for the Baysox (45-42), who have gone 25-7 over that span. The team’s 15-4 mark so far in the second half is the best in the Eastern League’s Western Division as they head into the all-star break.
“The clubhouse atmosphere has been incredible. Every day, we’re showing up to the ballpark expecting to win every single day,” infielder Rylan Bannon said. “We’re starting to put the pitching and hitting together at the same time and we’re getting production up and down the lineup, it’s been fun.”
For the second straight game, Harrisburg (47-41, 5-13) got on the board first when first baseman Ian Sagdal crushed a pitch deep over the right field fence for a home run to lead off the second inning.
However, the Baysox answered back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Bannon doubled down the line with one out, infielder Jesmuel Valentin walked and outfielder T.J. Nichting fought off a tough pitch to single to center, loading the bases.
Senators pitcher Jackson Tetreault, who struggled with control throughout his start, walked both Preston Palmeiro and Mason McCoy to give Bowie a 2-1 lead. The Baysox added one more run in the inning, with Nichting scoring on a fielder’s choice by designated hitter D.J. Stewart.
Outfielder Hunter Jones got one back for Harrisburg to start the third inning, crushing a fastball over the left field fence. The home runs to Sagdal and Jones were the only runs right-hander Dean Kremer allowed through the first five innings. Otherwise, the Senators had trouble with his off-speed pitches, struggled with his curveball and struck out six times.
“That kind of stuff happens,” Development Coach Josh Conway said. “You’re going to get hit every now and again. But he was able to mix his pitches and get guys out and get big outs when needed.”
Following a 1-2-3 inning by Harrisburg, the Baysox exploded into another big inning in the fourth. Nichting laid down a textbook bunt to start the inning, beating the throw for an infield single. Palmeiro singled to center field and McCoy followed with another walk, loading the bases once again.
Stewart, who is currently in the minors for a rehab stint before he returns to the Baltimore Orioles, hit a line drive into right field that scored two runs.
That chased Tetreault, who allowed five hits and walked five with just three strikeouts in three innings. Right-hander Ronald Peña entered in relief and quickly got Ryan McKenna to fly out. However, outfielder Yusniel Diaz singled, scoring McCoy before Stewart got caught in a rundown.
Bowie scored in bunches throughout the series against Harrisburg, with 28 of their 31 runs in the four games coming in eight innings where they scored multiple runs.
“We don’t have to depend on one person,” Valentin said. “Every single day there’s a different hero.”
That was enough insurance for Kremer, who ran into trouble in the sixth inning. With one out, Sagdal reached base on a groundball to third base that Bannon could not make a play on. Later on in the inning, with Sagdal on third and Chuck Taylor on base, catcher Spencer Kieboom connected with a sharp hit down the right-field line. Both runners scored to cut the lead to 7-4.
Kremer exited the game after that play, and Francisco Jimenez worked out of the jam to end the inning.
Jimenez allowed a solo home run to Jones to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and was pulled one batter later. Left-hander Tyler Erwin finished the seventh and closer Dillon Tate threw two scoreless innings to seal the win, though there was a little drama in the ninth inning.
A one-out single by shortstop Luis Sardiñas sent Jones to the plate as the tying run, but he lined out to Valentin at second base. He then quickly fired to Palmeiro at first to throw out Sardiñas for the double play to end the game.
During the break, Bannon, McCoy and left-handed pitchers Zac Lowther and Alex Wells will represent the team in the Eastern League All-Star game on July 10.
The Baysox will return the next day in Akron for a four-game set against the RubberDucks.