BOWIE, Md. -- Dominant starting pitching from Bruce Zimmermann combined with a six-run sixth inning propelled the Bowie Baysox to an 8-5 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels in front of 3,973 at Prince George's Stadium Friday night.
Zimmermann cruised through the first five innings en route to his first win of the season. The lefty tied a career high with 11 strikeouts, including five of the first six Richmond batters. Two hits and a walk were the only batters to reach until the sixth inning when the Squirrels loaded the bases on a trio of walks. Zimmermann struck out Jalen Miller before handing the ball to LHP Tyler Erwin, who caught Gio Brusa looking to escape the jam.
Bowie (10-24) continued their recent offensive surge immediately, taking a 1-0 lead after one inning. Ademar Rifaela lined his 9th double of the season into the right field corner, scoring Mason McCoy. The hit marked the 12th extra-base hit of the season for the outfielder, accounting for 48 percent of his 25 total hits in 2019.
After Richmond (11-20) left the bases loaded in the sixth inning, the Baysox loaded the bases themselves half an inning later and cashed in with a six-run frame to expand the lead to 7-0. Brett Cumberland patiently drew a five-pitch walk against Squirrels LHP Caleb Barager, scoring McCoy. Ryan McKenna raced home on a wild pitch from reliever Melvin Adon to increase the lead three pitches into his outing.
The third consecutive walk kept the inning alive for Preston Palmeiro, who crushed his first home run of the season to deep right field for a grand slam. Carlos Perez, Cumberland and Jesse Valentin scored on the long ball that gave the first baseman nine RBI in 2019.
McCoy reached safely in all four plate appearances, scoring three times on three hits and a walk. The final run came in the seventh inning. A walk and a McKenna double set the table for Rylan Bannon, who lifted a sacrifice fly to left field for his team-leading 16th RBI of the 2019 season.
The Baysox and Flying Squirrels continue their three-game weekend series Saturday night at 6:35 p.m., when RHP Marcos Molina (1-4, 4.68) squares off with Richmond LHP Conner Menez in a rematch of the April 30 contest that saw the righty earn his first win within the Orioles' organization.
Off the field, the Baysox will celebrate students from Prince George's County, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., who completed the Read & Hit a Home Run Reading Program. Additionally, six former Negro League baseball players are scheduled to attend as part of our tribute to the Negro Leagues. Fans can meet these athletes and get their autographs following a special on-field pregame ceremony.
Fans also will have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers with interactive exhibits and re-enactors on display on the concourse. After the game, the Baysox will host the second fireworks show of the season, courtesy of Educational Systems Federal Credit Union.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.