Schullstrom makes pitch, helps Baysox to 5-3 win

April 18, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

He was shocked two weeks ago when the Orioles, the team that had traded him last Aug. 31, regained him from the San Diego Padres on waivers.

"I recall either Roland Hemond or Doug Melvin, I don't remember which one, telling me that I was going to fulfill my dream to pitch in Memorial Stadium," Erik Schullstrom said yesterday after working three scoreless innings to save the Bowie Baysox' 5-3 Eastern League victory over London.

"What I didn't know was that it was going to be in Double-A ball."

Chosen in the second round of the 1990 draft behind Mike Mussina, Schullstrom had been something of an enigma.

His potential surfaced occasionally -- such as the time he pitched a no-hitter against Kinston for the Frederick Keys. But in his next start Schullstrom gave up four home runs during what he called "a nightmare."

Now Schullstrom says he believes the problem has been corrected.

"For five years I've been pitching with pain in my shoulder," he said. "They kept diagnosing it as tendinitis. But in spring training last year, I learned it was impingement. With exercise it was fine. No more pain."

Schullstrom looked like a world-beater yesterday before 1,439 hardy fans. He struck out five batters, including four of the last five, and did not allow a hit to protect the victory for Rick Krivda.

"He really popped the ball," Baysox manager Don Buford said. "We really hadn't seen much of him because we got him back so late. This was the best we've seen."

Schullstrom went to the Padres in the deal for Craig Lefferts and understood why. "At the time I thought the Orioles made a great trade," he said. "They were a game out, and they were getting another key starter. When you're that close, you've got to go for it."

He began this spring expecting to pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas, then got caught in a numbers game when the Padres had to return some injured players to their 40-man roster.

"I was wondering why they even traded for me when I got the news that they wanted me to go to Double-A. It was kind of strange," he said. "But along came the Orioles again. That eased the pain. They showed me they still wanted me."

The Baysox (5-3) fell behind when Rudy Pemberton hit a three-run homer off Krivda in the second inning, but fought back with a resourceful offense jump-started by T.R. Lewis' homer in the bottom of the second.

"That came at a good time," Buford said. "It was a big hit that gave us a spark."

The Baysox tied the score in the third against Jose Lima with Kyle Washington delivering a sacrifice fly and Greg Zaun a run-scoring single, then took the lead the next inning with the aid of a double steal by Brad Tyler and Jim Wawruck.

Stanton Cameron followed with a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead, and Edgar Alfonso, in the lineup with Jeffrey Hammonds ailing, drove home an insurance run in the seventh.

The victory left the Baysox 5-0 in day games, 0-3 at night.

* Hammonds was out of the lineup with a dose of flu. "I've really had it about four nights. When I went to sleep last night, I really felt bad," he said. "It's best to get it out of the system."

Buford said he would use Hammonds only in a pinch-hit role as a last resort. "If it's a key situation, I'll go to Brent Miller first," Buford said.

* General manager Keith Lupton reported only minor glitches in the opening-day operation.

"We had some ticket signs that contradicted some of the leftover signs from the Orioles and some power problems," Lupton said.

A new telephone system is also causing difficulties for the club. Fans calling during games were unable to get through to inquire about tickets.

NOTES: The Baysox are looking for a new visiting clubhouse manager. They will begin interviewing applicants tomorrow. . . . Tyler took over the team lead with eight runs after scoring twice.

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