June 17, 2009 - Eastern League (EL) - Bowie Baysox
BOWIE, Md. - Left-hander Brian Matusz kicked off his Baysox career with a 6.0 inning, 10 strikeout gem as Bowie defeated Reading 4-1. Catcher Adam Donachie\'s blasted a two-run home run in the fifth inning to put the Baysox on top, as they improve to a season-high four games above .500 at 34-30.
Matusz retired the side in order to start the game before running into a jam in the second inning. Kevin Mahar drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning and Neil Sellers followed with a single to put two on with nobody out. After a passed ball by Donachie advanced the runners into scoring position, Jeremy Slayden\'s broken bat single to left put the Phillies on top 1-0.
"The second inning I wasn\'t getting ahead of hitters," Matusz said. "It makes it tough when you put the leadoff hitter on base and they get a few little hits here and there."
The Baysox southpaw would get out of the second inning without allowing any further damage, retiring 12 in a row after the RBI single to Slayden. Seven of the final nine hitters during that streak went down by way of the strikeout, as Matusz would allow only one hit after the second inning. The 22-year-old Matusz said he experienced some nerves heading into his first start, which led to some mechanical issues early.
"I was trying to overthrow in the first two innings," Matusz said of his adjustment after the second inning. "I feel like I\'ve hit that groove when I\'m able to throw strikes when I need to, move it in and out with the fastball and use the off-speed pitches effectively."
The Bowie offense looked to even the score in the fourth inning against Reading righty Mike Stutes. Third baseman Michael Costanzo shot a double the opposite way into the left field corner to give the Baysox a chance with two outs. Second baseman Miguel Abreu followed with an RBI double to even the score at one apiece. Abreu would finish the night 2-4, collecting his third straight multi-hit game and fourth in his last five contests.
With Matusz cruising, the Baysox offense knew they could take the wind out of the Reading sails with one swing of the bat. After a one out walk to center fielder Danny Figueroa, Donachie provided that blow by crushing a 3-1 fastball over the secondary wall in left for a two-run blast. The home run was Donachie\'s third of the season and gave the Baysox a 3-1 advantage.
Donachie would strike again in the seventh, lacing an RBI single into center field in the seventh, extending the Baysox lead to three. In addition to being a veteran presence to Matusz in his first start in Double-A, the Baysox catcher has gone 5-6 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI over his last two games.
"I was in a little funk for a while," Donachie said. "I spent some time in the cage with (Hitting Coach) Moe (Hill) and he got me squared away."
Left-hander Chad Thall came on to replace Matusz in the seventh inning, retiring the side in order to earn his league leading 10th hold of the season. The Mexico, MO native has not allowed an earned run in his last four appearances, lowering his ERA to 3.86 on the season.
Right-hander Ryohei Tanaka came on in the eighth, striking out four over the final two innings to earn his second save of the season. The four punchouts gave the Baysox a season-high 14 for the night. Tanaka allowed two singles in the ninth, but struck Sellers and Slaydon to end the game. After signing from Japan in the off-season, Tanaka has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances since joining the Baysox on June 5.
"I\'m trying to maintain consistency," Tanaka said through a translator after the game. "At the same time I\'m trying to get a little bit better each time and get used to American baseball."
The Baysox look to go for the series sweep tomorrow night on Law and Order Night at Prince George\'s Stadium. RHP Tim Bascom (1-0, 1.29) makes his second start for the Baysox against Reading RHP Tyson Brummett (3-6, 4.67). Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. Fans are encouraged to get to the game early to take a bite out of crime with many of Maryland\'s finest civil servants.
The Baysox 17th season as the class AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway! Check out www.baysox.com to see all that's going on at the stadium this year, and don't miss a moment of the action as the Baysox attempt to bring home their first Eastern League championship. Individual game tickets and ticket packages are available now at www.baysox.com or by calling the Baysox box office at (301) 464-4865.