ALTOONA, PA – The Bowie Baysox were left heartbroken on Thursday night in Altoona, as they fell 13-12 to the Altoona Curve. Despite trailing 9-2 after just the second inning, Bowie staged an improbable comeback by scoring the next nine runs to take an 11-9 lead in the seventh inning. Altoona found their footing again in the eighth inning, as they teed off against Tyler Burch for four runs.
The early attack was Bowie’s specialty again, as the Baysox collected four hits in the first inning against Altoona opener Will Kobos, while Cesar Prieto and Maverick Handely each drove in runs with singles.
The first half of the game was highlighted by Altoona’s constant torching of starter Garrett Stallings. The Curve strung together three consecutive hits to open the second inning to plate two runs, an error allowed a third run to score, and Stallings let up two more hits for two more runs before finally recording the first out of the frame. Altoona picked back up with back-to-back doubles to knock Stallings out of the game. As Griffin McLarty took over earlier than expected, Altoona notched two more hits before the inning was finally able to settle down.
Altoona scored nine runs on nine hits, including three doubles and three triples. The 1 1/3 innings and eight earned runs were both career-worst marks for Stallings. After escaping the first few batters of his unexpected outing, McLarty reset to fire a scoreless third and fourth for Bowie before being relieved.
Bowie kicked off their comeback in the third inning against left-hander Omar Cruz. Handley lifted a two-out, two-run home run to left field for his third of the season, trimming the lead to just five runs. After Bowie stranded the bases loaded in a scoreless fourth inning, Jordan Westburg launched his ninth home run of the season, a three-run shot with two outs, to left field to bring Bowie within two.
As Cruz departed after just 3 1/3 innings, Enmanuel Mejia halted Bowie’s march with a perfect sixth inning, but the charge resumed in the seventh. After two quick outs to open the frame, Davis Tavarez hit a game-tying two-run home run to right-center field, his first hit in Double-A. After Westburg followed the homer with a single, Gunnar Henderson crushed his eighth homer of the year to right field. The two-run blast capped the seven-run battle for Bowie, as they pushed ahead to an 11-9 lead.
After McLarty finished his night of relief, Bowie turned to Cameron Bishop for the next three innings, and the lefty worked scoreless through the seventh inning while striking out three batters. Coming on to attempt a six-out save, Tyler Burch only collected one out before Altoona re-took the lead. Following a pair of singles, Aaron Shackleford doubled to left field to drive in one run, and Andres Alvarez burned Burch (L, 0-4) by sending an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a go-ahead three-run home run.
In the ninth inning, Bowie tangled with Altoona right-hander JC Flowers (W, 3-3), and started to break through when they loaded the bases with only one out in the frame, but Altoona made a switch to left-handed reliever Tyler Samaniego. After a sacrifice fly by Hudson Haskin to make it a one-run game, Samaniego (Sv, 1) forced a groundout to end the game.
Offensively, Bowie was led by Handley, as the catcher extended his on-base to 10-consecutive games while logging a career-high four hits. Gunnar Henderson had his third-consecutive multi-hit game, Jordan Westburg picked up his second three-hit game of the season, and Cesar Prieto extended his hitting streak to five-consecutive games and has hits in 17 of his last 18 games, dating back to his final ten games in High-A. As a team, Bowie collected 14 total hits, their fifth-consecutive game with at least ten hits.
The loss knocks Bowie down to an 18-28 record, as their four-game winning streak ends. The two sides will continue their six-game series on Friday, with the fourth game of the set scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.