Senators' Diaz gets even with Baysox in 2-1 win

September 09, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

BOWIE -- They were meeting a pitcher they had clobbered four times this season and generated almost no offense.

So the Bowie Baysox find themselves still waiting to clinch the Southern Division championship of the Double-A Eastern League.

In the third game of a best-of-five series, the defending-league-champion Harrisburg Senators found a way to win despite themselves last night, beating Bowie, 2-1, before 6,390 at Prince George's County Stadium.

Rafael Diaz had had no success against the Baysox all season, but this time he gave a 2-1 lead to the bullpen with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh.

Left-hander Bob Baxter struck out Rob Lukachyk on a 3-2 pitch to end that uprising before sidearm specialist Curt Schmidt pitched a scoreless final two innings.

In four previous starts against Bowie, Diaz had four losses, a 13.97 ERA and 30 hits allowed in 19 1/3 innings. He was the victim of the Baysox's biggest uprising of the season in a 28-10 victory at University of Maryland's Shipley Field.

But after surviving a first inning during which Bowie put its first five runners on and managed only one run, Diaz was tough.

"That was the main inning," he said. "I always have trouble in that one and I wanted to get out of there without too much damage."

Said Bowie manager Pete Mackanin: "We had them on the

ropes. If Hector [Vargas] came through with even a sacrifice fly, it might be a different game with a lot of pressure on them."

Curtis Goodwin beat out an infield single to lead off the Bowie first but was picked off by Diaz. Three straight walks followed, and Alex Ochoa singled to left to knock in Bowie's run. But Vargas tapped into a double play and the Baysox's attack did little the rest of the night.

Harrisburg had 15 hits, including two doubles and a home run, but also managed to get three runners thrown out trying to steal, one cut down at third and one at the plate. A bases-loaded, third-to-home double play also enabled the Baysox to escape a bad situation.

Scott Klingenbeck started for the Baysox and struggled, taking the loss on a bases-loaded walk to Tyrone Woods in the third inning.

"We just couldn't get anything going," said Mackanin. "That's one of the worst games we've played in a month. It was a hard one to lose."

The series winner will face the Binghamton Mets, who wrapped up the Northern Division series in three straight by beating the New Haven Ravens, 2-1, last night.

The championship series begins the day after the Harrisburg-Bowie series ends.

* Former Orioles front-office official Bob Brown has joined Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership Inc. as vice president of communications, chairman Peter Kirk announced yesterday.

Maryland Baseball owns and operates the Double-A Bowie Baysox, Single-A Frederick Keys and an unnamed team coming to Salisbury.

BAYSOX PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

BOWIE BAYSOX

vs. HARRISBURG SENATORS

Eastern League semifinal series

(Best of five; Baysox lead, 2-1)

Game 1: Baysox, 7-6 (10 innings)

Game 2: Baysox, 3-0

Game 3: Senators, 2-1

Tonight at Bowie: Senators' Darrin Paxton (4-6, 3.76) vs. Baysox's Vaughn Eshelman (11-9, 4.00), 7:05

Tomorrow at Harrisburg* 7:05

*-If necessary

Radio: WNAV (1430 AM), WMJS (92.7 FM)

Note: Winner advances to Eastern League championship series against Binghamton.

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