BOWIE, Md. - The Baysox got off to a fast start with four runs in the first inning and dominated Akron at home 7-3 Wednesday night to win the series. With the win, the Baysox improve to 71-58 on the season, but remain one and a half games behind Harrisburg in the division.
Third baseman Brandon Waring tied the Baysox career home run record as he hit his team-leading 19th home run of the season and 42nd in his career with Bowie in the first inning.
"I was looking for a pitch up in the zone that I could drive up in the zone that would get [Mahoney] over, I put a good swing on it and it got out of the park," Waring said. "I've definitely shown I could hit for power in my career and it's always fun when you are chasing down a record."
Right-handed starting pitcher Zach Clark pitched five innings and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out two and walking four in his team-leading ninth win of the season. He induced three double play balls during the game and has recorded an Eastern League leading 21 double plays this season.
"I'm a sinkerball pitcher and they were hitting the ball into the ground, which is what I want and that was working tonight when guys were on base," Clark said. "I was just trying to keep my sinker low and hope that they beat it into the ground."
The Baysox got off to a hot start in the first inning against Akron starter Matt Packer. With one out, second baseman Greg Miclat and left fielder LJ Hoes hit back-to-back singles. First baseman Joe Mahoney then got the scoring started with a two-run double to left field and Waring followed by hitting his 19th home run of the season off the scoreboard in left field to give the Baysox a 4-0 lead.
"We just wanted to get on them early, we knew this was a big game - they are still in contention and we let one get away last night," Mahoney said. "We knew we had to go out early and get Zach [Clark] some runs and go from there."
Right fielder Ronnie Welty added to the Baysox lead in the second inning with a solo home run to right-center field that made the score 5-0. It was Welty's 12th home run of the season, placing him second on the team, and his first home run since July 27.
The Baysox scored another run in the third inning. With one out and Hoes at second base, Waring picked up his third RBI of the game with a double to left-center field that extended the lead to 6-0.
In the fifth inning, the Aeros cut the Baysox lead in half with three runs against Clark. Michel Hernandez got Akron on the board with a lead off home run to left field. Kyle Bellows then reached on an infield single to second base and Raul Padron doubled to left field to put runners at second and third base. Donnie Webb knocked in the second run of the game on a single to right field that scored Bellows before Cristo Arnal hit into a double play that plated Padron to make the score 6-3.
Bowie added another run in the seventh inning against Akron reliever Bryce Stowell. Miclat led off with a walk and then stole his 50th base of the season before Hoes knocked him in with an RBI single up the middle to extend the lead to 7-3. Miclat is currently third in franchise history for steals in a season, trailing Willie Harris (54) and Curtis Goodwin (59).
Right-handed reliever Pat Egan pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Clark, including retiring three consecutive batters after entering the sixth inning with runners on first and second base. Left-handed reliever Pedro Viola pitched a scoreless eighth inning and closer Jose Diaz followed with a scoreless ninth inning to finish the game.
The Baysox offense benefitted from a familiarity with Akron's left-handed starting pitcher Packer. He was making his fourth start of the season against the Baysox and with the prior experience, Bowie's hitters knew what to look for and exploit.
"The ironic thing about this series is that we've had our struggles against left-handed pitching and we won both games this series against lefties," said Hitting Coach Denny Hocking. "We are seeing familiar pitching and the guys made good adjustments, they made [Packer] get the ball over the plate."
With 12 games remaining in the season, the players know how important every game and every at bat is as the team battles for a spot in the playoffs. After struggling early Tuesday night, the Baysox got off to a strong start with four runs in the first inning, but maintained that momentum throughout the game as they added extra runs to keep Akron out of the game.
"It's fun - you come to the field every day and you have something to play for," Mahoney said. "Everybody wants to pop champagne at the end of the year and make the playoffs and have a shot to win the championship."
Click here for a full box score.
Thursday, LHP Mike Ballard (7-2, 3.55) takes the mound for the Baysox as they travel to Erie to take on the SeaWolves. His opponent will be RHP Trevor Feeney (0-0, 0.00).
The Baysox begin a four game road trip to Erie Thursday, Aug. 25 and return home for eight games Monday, Aug. 29. The upcoming home stand is the last one of the regular season and a chance for fans to see the Baysox clinch a spot in the Eastern League playoffs.
Baysox Baseball - We'll Knock Your 'Sox Off. The Baysox 19th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is nearly over at Prince George's Stadium. Parking and game programs are free at every Baysox home game. To purchase Baysox single game tickets and check out all the exciting promotions, visit www.baysox.com or call 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.