BOWIE -- Tonight they will conclude a stretch of five regular-season games against each other that mean little in the standings, so the managers are simply trying to tune up their players for their showdown in the Eastern League playoffs.
Harrisburg's 6-2 victory over Bowie before 10,868 at Prince George's County Stadium yesterday evened their current meeting at two wins apiece and gave the Senators a 9-8 edge in the season series.
But not until tomorrow night will the real firing begin.
"I hate this, playing the same team so many games in a row," said Baysox manager Pete Mackanin. "You try to figure out if this is good or bad and you can't.
"They're learning everything about us and we're learning everything about them, so I guess it's even."
Mackanin and his counterpart, Dave Jauss, used nine pitchers yesterday in what resembled a spring training rotation and Bowie was missing its second-leading hitter, Edgar Alfonzo, who sat out with a sore foot. Alfonzo has a 15-game hitting streak, one short of the club record.
The Baysox (83-58) took a 1-0 lead on a double by Scott McClain and a run-scoring single by Jack Voigt against Darrin Paxton in the first inning.
That held up until the fourth when doubles by league MVP Mark Grudzielanek and Tyrone Woods tied it.
Then, a three-run rally against Vaughn Eshelman (11-9) stowed away the decision in the fifth.
A two-run double by Tyrone Horne and Grudzielanek's single knocked home the runs in that rally.
Eshelman failed for the sixth time to win his 12th game although his ERA in his last 13 starts is 2.92. Bowie's only left-hander is now 0-3 against Harrisburg (88-50), but will start Game 4 of the playoffs if it is necessary.
Alex Ochoa drove in the second Baysox run with a fifth-inning single.
NOTES: Three players have been promoted from the Single-A Frederick Keys to complete Bowie's postseason roster, including Carolina League batting champion Harry Berrios and league save leader Chris Lemp. Pitcher Garrett Stephenson, 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA in a previous stint with the Baysox, will start the regular-season finale tonight. He replaces fellow Maryland native Rick Forney, who has been disabled with a sore elbow. . . . The Baysox are selling box-seat tickets for Games 3 and 4, scheduled Thursday and Friday at Prince George's County Stadium. General admission tickets will go on sale the day of the game. Regular-season prices will be charged, $7 for boxes and $5 and $3 for general admission.
BAYSOX PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
BOWIE vs. HARRISBURG
(Best of five)
Day ........... Site ......... Time
Tomorrow ... at Harrisburg ... 7:05
Wednesday .. at Harrisburg ... 7:05
Thursday ... at Bowie ........ 7:05
Friday ..... at Bowie* ....... 7:05
Saturday ... at Harrisburg* .. 7:05
Note: Winner advances to Eastern League championship series against winner of New Haven-Binghamton series.