Bowie, Md. — Chris O’Brien completed an unlikely Baysox comeback with a two-out, pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday afternoon for an 11-9 win over Harrisburg.
The Baysox fell behind early, trailing by six runs after two innings, before beginning the long comeback journey that was capped by seven runs in the final two innings of the game.
O’Brien’s grand slam was his team-leading fourth home run of the season and extended his team-high hitting streak to 12 games. The hit was the Baysox first pinch-hit home run since Robbie Widlansky 7/11/11, the first grand slam since Chris Marrero 8/19/14 and the first walk-off home run since David Freitas 8/17/14.
Harrisburg jumped out to a commanding lead in the top of the second inning against Baysox starter Parker Bridwell. The first two batters of the inning singled to reach base and then scored on a Ricky Hague double to right field. Then with one out, Bridwell walked a pair of batters to load the bases before hits by Derrick Robinson and Tony Renda brought three more runs home. The final run of the inning scored on a Caleb Ramsey sacrifice fly to give the Senators a 6-0 lead.
Bowie got two runs back in the bottom of the third inning against Colin Bates, who was making a spot start out of the bullpen. Mike Yastrzemski hit a two-out single to right field and Glynn Davis followed with an RBI triple to center field. The Baysox kept the two-out rally going with a Garabez Rosa RBI infield single to make the score 6-2.
The Senators added a run in the top of the fifth inning against Baysox reliever Terry Doyle. The first three batters of the inning reached on singles to load the bases and Matt Skole brought Renda home with a sacrifice fly to left field to give Harrisburg a 7-2 lead.
The Baysox cut into the Senators lead again in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Derrik Gibson two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning against reliever James Simmons that made the score 7-4.
Harrisburg got a run back in the top of the seventh inning against Baysox reliever Gene Escat. With one out, Matt Skole reached on a fielding error by first baseman Brandon Snyder and he moved to third base on a double to center field by Hague. Wilmer Difo’s sacrifice fly to center field brought Skole home to give the Senators an 8-4 lead.
Bowie came storming back and seriously threatened the Harrisburg lead for the first time in the bottom of the eighth inning against reliever Bryan Harper. Quincy Latimore drew a lead-off walk and scored on a Jason Esposito double to center field. With one out, David Freitas homered to left-center field to cut the Harrisburg lead to 8-7. With two outs in the inning, the Baysox had runners on second and third, but a hard Rosa line drive was snagged by Kevin Keyes at first base to end the threat.
The Senators added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning against Baysox reliever Kenn Kasparek. Keyes hit a one-out single to center field and Skole followed with a double to right field that plated Keyes and made the score 9-7.
The Baysox first lead of the game came in the bottom of the ninth inning against Harrisburg reliever Abel De Los Santos. Snyder hit a lead-off double to left-center field, Esposito walked and Freitas was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases with two outs. Then came O’Brien to pinch-hit for Ozzie Martinez, hitting the game winning home run over the fence in right field for the 11-9 win.
After throwing six shutout innings in his last start, Bridwell lasted just two innings Sunday, allowing five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two. Doyle stepped up after Bridwell’s early exit, throwing four innings and allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts. Escat pitched two innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit while striking out one. Kasparek pitched the ninth inning, allowing one run on two hits while striking out one in the win.
De Los Santos took the loss and blown save for Harrisburg, throwing one and one-third innings and allowing four runs on four hits while striking out three and walking one.
RHP Branden Kline (2-1, 4.74) takes the mound for the Baysox Monday as the team opens a four game home series against the Akron RubberDucks. He will be opposed by LHP Ryan Merritt (1-1, 3.00). Baltimore Orioles infielders J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty are both scheduled to start in Bowie on MLB Rehab Assignments.
The Baysox are home through Thursday, May 7 for a seven game homestand against the Harrisburg Senators and Akron RubberDucks. Highlights of the homestand include Mutt Monday, May 4 at 6:35 p.m. and Dollar Dog Night Tuesday, May 5 at 6:35 p.m.