With Orioles players Felix Pie and Michael Gonzalez participating in injury rehabilitation assignments with Double-A Bowie, there was an extra level of excitement from fans to kick off the holiday weekend at Prince George's Stadium.
Pie, Gonzalez and the rest of the Baysox didn't give the crowd much reason to celebrate, however, as Akron cruised to a 9-4 victory in the second game of the series.
In his first at-bat, Pie showed some solid plate discipline as he walked on six pitches.
Pie struck out in each of his next two at-bats, however. In the fifth, he was punched out on four pitches.
Akron second baseman Jason Kipnis robbed Pie of a single up the middle in the seventh as he ranged well to his right and threw out the Orioles outfielder by a step at first base.
With one run already scored in the bottom of the ninth, Pie tripled into the left-center field gap in his last at-bat to finish 1-for-4 with a walk. He was stranded at third base as third baseman Ryan Adams flied out to end the game.
Gonzalez entered with two outs in the fifth inning after Baysox starting pitcher Nathan Nery allowed five consecutive hits -- a home run, two doubles and two singles.
With a runner on second base, Gonzalez forced Akron shortstop Cristo Arnal to fly out to deep center field to end the threat in the fifth.
In the sixth, Gonzalez retired the first two batters before ending his night on a bad note.
Aeros third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall hit a long home run over the first layer of signs in right-center field. Chisenhall fouled off four consecutive pitches before unleashing the bomb against Gonzalez.
According to the radar gun at the ballpark -- which isn't always accurate, by the way -- Gonzalez was in the upper 80s for the most part with his fastball. He touched 91.
Another radar gun had Gonzalez between 90-93 during the outing.
Overall, Gonzalez threw 15 of his 20 pitches for strikes.
I thought Gonzalez looked OK, for what it's worth, but he looks far from the dominating closer that the Orioles envisioned when they signed him as a free agent in the offseason.