It wasn't a must-win game for Bowie, but it was close enough for Nolan Reimold.
Reimold ensured a victory with three homers and a career-high eight RBIs as the Bowie Baysox slammed the Akron Aeros, 11-3, to win Game 2 of their Eastern League playoff series.
"It wasn't a must-win, but we knew we had to get it," said Reimold, whose career day helped the Orioles affiliate even the best-of-5 playoff series at 1-1 following Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Aeros. "We lost a tough one last night in extra innings, so we wanted to get the win tonight and try to close it out on the road."
The Eastern League All-Star went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer in the first, a two-out solo shot in the fourth, an RBI single in the sixth and his first career grand slam in the eighth.
Reimold has homered in each of his last four games and has six home runs and 13 RBIs in that span.
Click for 2008 three-homer games >
"I'm feeling pretty comfortable at the plate," he said. "It couldn't happen at a better time."
It was the first three-homer game in Reimold's career and his biggest offensive performance since going 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs on Aug. 8, 2007 against Reading.
Reimold, who hit a solo homer in Game 1 on Wednesday, capped his day with a grand slam off Akron reliever Chuck Lofgren.
"I figured he was going to pitch to me, throw me fastballs so he wouldn't walk a run in," Reimold said. "He challenged me and I put a good swing on it. It happened to go my way."
The former second-round pick put up big numbers in his fourth season, finishing second in the league with 25 homers and fifth with 84 RBIs for Bowie. It was the first multi-homer effort for the 24-year-old since he managed the feat twice in three days from July 1-3 against Harrisburg.
"It put the game out of reach and secured a victory," he said. "It was a good ending to a good night."
Reimold, an All-Star Futures Game selection in 2006, hit .284 with 87 runs in 139 games this season to earn postseason All-Star honors.
"We've got a lot of confidence, we're a confident group," he said. "We know what we're capable of doing. [Akron is] a really good ballclub, but we should come away with the series."
Reimold became the third player in Bowie history to hit three homers in a game. He's also the third Baysox slugger to drive in eight runs -- Cory Keylor was the last to do it on July 9, 2006. Calvin Pickering was the last Bowie player to homer three times in a game on July 29, 1998.
It was the 32nd time a player has hit three homers in a game in the Minors this season.
A big postseason could mean a callup to Baltimore, but Reimold isn't concerned.
"All I can do is just do a good job on the field," he said. "Anything can happen after the season, and it'll be a bonus."
Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Brad Bergesen (1-0) lived up to his title, holding the Aeros to three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk over eight innings for the win. The former fourth-round pick struck out six before Julio Manon fanned two batters in the ninth for the save.
All-Star J.D. Martin (0-1) allowed five runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over five innings to take the loss. The former first-rounder struck out three and served up a pair of home runs for Akron (1-1). Box score
In other EL action
Trenton Thunder 4, Portland Sea Dogs 3
Austin Jackson hit a three-run homer off Clay Buchholz and Jeff Marquez allowed three runs over five innings as Trenton took a 2-0 lead in its best-of-5 series with Portland. Box score