Bowie, Md. - The Baysox held a brief lead in the middle of the game, but were unable to hold on after an eight-run eighth inning spurred the Senators to a 13-3 win Saturday afternoon.
Harrisburg exploded for 11 runs in the final two innings to blow the game wide open. After left-handed starting pitcher Jake Pettit allowed two runs in six innings, the Baysox bullpen struggled to get Harrisburg hitters out. The 10-run margin of defeat was just one run shy of the largest margin of defeat from all of 2011 when the Senators beat the Baysox by 11 runs July 25.
"[Pedro] Viola was going in to get some outs in the eighth and it just wasn't real pretty," said Manager Gary Kendall. "We just didn't get the job done - we didn't locate, we didn't get some pitches where we wanted to get them and they made us pay to their credit."
First baseman Tyler Townsend continued his hot streak with his second home run in as many games when he launched a three-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning. Townsend recorded the first hit and home run of his Double-A career Friday night.
For the second game in a row, designated hitter Rick Ankiel, who is with the Senators on a Major League rehab assignment, homered off Pettit in the top of the first inning to give Harrisburg an early 1-0 lead.
The Senators struck again in the fourth inning after a lead off single to right field by Jeff Kobernus. Ankiel then moved Kobernus to third with a single to right field where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Destin Hood. Tim Pahuta followed with a one out single to right field that moved Ankiel to third, but Pettit was able to retire the next two batters to end the inning.
Bowie got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning against Harrisburg starter Jeff Mandel. With one out, center fielder LJ Hoes singled to third base and moved to second when left fielder Robbie Widlansky reached on a fielder's choice that saw both runners safe after a late throw to second. With two outs in the inning, Townsend homered off the right field foul pole to put the Baysox up 3-2.
Harrisburg took the lead right back in the top of the eighth inning against left-handed reliever Pedro Viola. Jeff Howell hit a lead off double to center field and Josh Johnson followed with a triple to right field that tied the game 3-3. Eury Perez then singled to left field to plate Johnson and put the Senators ahead. The hits continued when Kobernus singled to right field to move Perez to third with no outs. With Jesus Valdez batting, Kobernus stole second before Valdez drew a walk to load the bases.
Right-handed reliever Sean Gleason then replaced Viola on the mound and surrendered a two-run double to Hood that made the score 6-3. With one out, Chris Rahl singled to left field to score Valdez and move Hood to third base. Jose Lozada followed with a double to center field that cleared the bases and extended the Senators lead to 9-3. The ninth batter of the inning, Jeff Howell, walked to put runners on first and second base before Johnson grounded into a force out that retired Howell at second base. A throwing error on the play by shortstop Manny Machado allowed Lozada to score the eighth run of the inning and make the score 10-3 before Gleason was able to record the third out.
The Senators added another run in the top of the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Ross Wolf. With two outs, Pahuta doubled to right field and Rahl took first after being hit by a pitch. Lozada plated Pahuta with a single to center field that also moved Rahl to third base. Howell then drew a walk to load the bases and Johnson followed with a two-run single to right field that moved Howell to third and made the score 13-3.
Pettit, who was making his first Double-A start, pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out three batters in a no decision.
"I thought it went well," Pettit said. "My command was good today I felt really good out there. I struggled with my change-up early but I got control of it as the game went on. I was trying to work fast and get ground balls. The pitches that got hit hard were all up in the zone, everything else was down."
Pitching Coach Kennie Steenstra was also impressed with Pettit's first start. "He pitched very well. I liked the way he went after guys. He threw lots of strikes and attacked the zone, was able to throw all three pitches for strikes. It was good to see. It looked like he was pretty focused right from the get-go."
Right-handed reliever Robert Hinton pitched one scoreless inning in relief in his Baysox debut. Viola pitched to five batters in the eighth inning and allowed five runs on four hits in the loss. Gleason finished the eighth inning, allowing three runs on four hits. Wolf pitched the ninth inning and allowed three runs on three hits while striking out one batter and issuing one walk.
The Baysox first homestand of the year ends Wednesday, April 11. Before that day comes, the team has several fun activities planned including, a University of Maryland Terrapins Baseball team appearance Monday, April 9, Tailgate Tuesday April 10 and a day game starting at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday, April 11.
Baysox Baseball - We'll Knock Your 'Sox Off. The Baysox 20th season is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com, or by calling the Baysox box office at (301) 464-4865.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.