Written by Michael Williams
The Baysox (43-46) fell into an early hole and were never able to dig out as they lost to the Akron Aeros (52-38) 4-2 Monday afternoon in the final game of a six-game homestand.
Nick Markakis, who was with the Baysox on a Major League rehab assignment, went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
Right-handed starting pitcher Chris Tillman, who was making his first start with the Baysox since 2008 after starting for the Orioles last week, pitched three and one-third innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out two batters and walking two in the loss.
“I didn’t think Tillman had command of the baseball as well as he has in the past,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “His breaking ball wasn’t there for him today and he gave up three runs.”
For the second night in a row, the Baysox out-hit the Aeros, but failed to keep up on the scoreboard after falling into an early 4-0 hole. They failed to take advantage of several chances with runners on base as they batted just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“Four runs isn’t insurmountable the way we have been swinging the bat,” Kendall said. “During the course of nine innings you think you are going to get some opportunities, which we did, but we stranded too many runners. We just didn’t get the big hit.”
Akron struck first in the top of the second inning against Tillman. Nick Weglarz hit a lead off single to center field and Juan Diaz followed with a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Adam Abraham singled to center field. Abraham advanced to second base on a Roberto Perez ground out and scored when Davis Stoneburner singled to right field to give the Aeros a 3-0 lead.
The Aeros extended their lead in the top of the fourth inning against Baysox reliever Robert Hinton, who replaced Tillman with one out in the inning. The first batter he faced, Abraham, hit a solo home run to center field to give Akron a 4-0 lead.
First baseman Rhyne Hughes got the Baysox on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning when he hit a solo home run to right field against Akron starter Paolo Espino to make the score 4-1.
The Baysox cut into the Akron lead again in the bottom of the sixth inning. Left fielder Robbie Widlansky hit a lead off single to left field and Tyler Sturdevant then replaced Espino on the mound. Hughes drew a walk and shortstop Jonathan Schoop singled to right field to load the bases with no outs. Third baseman Zelous Wheeler hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to plate Widlansky for the only run the Baysox scored that inning to make the score 4-2.
Hinton pitched two and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out two batters. Baysox pitcher Tim Bascom pitched three scoreless innings and did not allow a hit while striking out two batters and walking two.
Espino earned the win for Akron , pitching five innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five batters and walking two. Preston Guilmet earned his second save in a row as he pitched a perfect ninth inning. (Matt Wilson)
Monday night there was no dramatic Keys rally to speak of. Frederick fell behind as Salem starter Brandon Workman threw six one-hit innings while striking out a season-high nine batters as Frederick fell 7-0 in the series finale. The Keys chance for a first sweep in 2012 went away as the Keys closed a six-game road trip at 3-3.
Salem1B Travis Shaw singled home a run in the first inning and hit a line drive home run over the right-field wall, his 13th of the year, to propel the Red Sox to a 3-0 third inning lead. The Keys had a tough time answering. Salem added two more runs and pushed Keys starter Trent Howard from the game after 4 and 2/3rds innings. Howard allowed five runs, four of which earned.
The Keys top four hitters in the order, who have had such success on the trip, struggled. Johnny Ruettiger, Trent Mummey, Ty Kelly and Aaron Baker combined to go 1-for-14 on the night. Kelly saw his league-leading 18-game hit streak come to an end. Baker was hitless on the day he received Carolina League Player of the Week honors for a second time in three weeks.
Keys reliever Eric Beaulac worked 2 and 1/3rd scoreless innings. Salem did get back-to-back home runs from Michael Almanzar and Christian Vazquez on consecutive pitches to finish the scoring in the eighth inning. (Adam Pohl)
The IronBirds fell to the ValleyCats in the series finale on Monday night, 5-2. Aberdeen tied the game in the top of the seventh but Tri-City regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh and plated two more runs in the bottom of the eighth en route to the victory. In the losing effort, 1B Christian Walker went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored.
Trailing by a run entering the fourth inning, Christian Walker led off the frame with a double to right field. After Doug Bream single to center advanced Walker to third, LF Will Howard grounded into a 4-6-3 double play but Walker came home to score on the groundout.
The ValleyCats took the lead in the sixth inning as 1B Jesse Wierzbicki led off with a solo home run down the left field line Wierzbicki’s second home run of the season put Tri-City ahead, 2-1.
Down but not out, the IronBirds tied the game up in the top of the seventh. DH Doug Bream started the seventh with a single to right. After a Will Howard ground out moved Bream to second, 2B Creede Simpson singled to left field. Bream came in to score from second and tied the game at two.
3B Ryan Dineen led off the home half of the seventh for the ValleyCats. Facing RHP Sander Beck, Dineen hit a pitch deep to right field. At the warning track, RF Roderick Bernadina could not make the catch. Dineen hustled all the way to third on the error by Bernadina. The next man up, SS Joe Sclafani singled home Dineen and put Tri-City in front for good.
Tri-City plated two more runs in bottom of the eighth before RHP Blake Ford tossed a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
Out of the bullpen, RHP Travis Ballew (3-0) picked up the win for the ValleyCats while Sander Beck (1-2) got the loss despite not surrendering an earned run.
In his fourth start of the season, RHP Mark Blackmar got a no-decision. Over 5.1 innings pitched, Blackmar allowed two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four.
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