Double-A Baysox fall behind in finals after 9-3 drubbing

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BOWIE — Despite being in their 23rd season, the Bowie Baysox lack much of a playoff history. The Orioles' Double-A affiliate never even won a postseason series until beating Altoona in an Eastern League semifinal last week.

That's why Game 3 of the Eastern League championship series with Reading on Thursday night meant so much to the organization — it was the first time the Baysox ever hosted a game in the title series. But Reading ruined the party, taking command early and rolling to a 9-3 victory at Prince George's Stadium.


The win gave the Fightin Phils a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. Bowie needs a win in Game 4 on Friday (at 7:05 p.m.) to keep its season alive

Bowie manager Gary Kendall isn't worried about being one loss from elimination. The Baysox dropped the first game of their semifinal series versus Altoona, but came back to win three straight to advance to this series.


"Our backs are against the wall," Kendall said. "Our backs have been against the wall a lot this year. They're certainly not going to lie down. We're going to have to play real good baseball, and we'll find out what we're made of."

Right fielder Mike Yastrzemski — grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski — said the team understands where they're at. They just need to win two straight games at home to capture the Eastern League title.

"Just because the other team only has to win one game doesn't mean that we shouldn't be fired up to win two," he said. "It's a great opportunity, and it's simple."

Bowie will need to come up with the offense it could not find until far too late in this contest. The Baysox rolled to a 10-3 victory in Game 2 of the series in Reading on Wednesday.

This time, though, Bowie couldn't do much against Reading starter Jake Thompson (2-0). The 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-hander — acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal — allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings.

Bowie starter Chris Lee (1-1) didn't have the same luck. He couldn't find good command while struggling and fell behind early.

The left-hander lasted just four innings plus one batter and gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. His throwing error led to Reading's first run in the third inning before he allowed Harold Martinez's two-run double in the fourth.

When Nick Williams led off the fifth with a home run for a 4-0 lead, Kendall pulled Lee.

"I did the best I could," Lee said. "I tried to pound the zone and tried to keep my team in there. They got some hits and hit my mistakes."

But the Baysox bullpen also experienced problems as five relief pitchers gave up a total of five runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings.

Overall, the Baysox simply could not overcome their mistakes and lack of offense. Lee made a throwing error on KC Serna's swinging bunt to start the third. That let Serna go to second, and he scored two batters later on J.P. Crawford's sacrifice fly.

Reading broke it open with a five-run sixth, but the key play might have been Bowie third baseman Garabez Rosa's early fielding error. With a runner on first and no outs, Serna ripped a shot that Rosa couldn't come up with behind the bag.


That set the wheels in motion for trouble as seven of the first eight Reading batters got on en route to the five runs that gave the Fightin Phils a 9-0 lead.

Yastrzemski helped Bowie break through in the sixth with a double to left. He scored later on Quincy Latimore's infield single. Tucker Nathans led off the ninth with a homer, and Bowie also scored on a throwing error.

The Baysox now have to hope the second time they host a game in the championship series winds up better than the first. If not, their 2015 season could be over.

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