The Fightins have had it easy this postseason. They remained undefeated in the playoffs with a winning margin in the double-digits, outscoring opponents 19-7 in this postseason.
With that in mind, the Bowie Baysox did not want to return home to conclude the series with a 2-0 deficit.
Wednesday night the Fightins fell for the first time this post season in a 10-3 decision in Game Two of the Eastern League Championship Series.
Right-handed pitcher Ethan Martin started the night for Reading, but struggled to find a rhythm. In just 2 1/3 innings, he allowed five earned runs and walked five batters, digging a hole the Fightins could not get out of.
“He definitely didn’t have it,” Fightins manager Dusty Wathan said. “He was battling himself right from the get-go and it’s a shame because he’s pitched really well for us down the stretch… but you just have to deal with it, these guys are human and they’re not going to be perfect every time. ”
In his last start for the Fightins on September 3rd, Martin threw five no-hit innings. The team would eventually clinch the regular season division title with a 2-1 win over Binghamton.
But it was not just Martin who struggled on the mound for Reading. Joely Rodriquez also had trouble throwing strikes. He allowed two earned runs, one unearned run, and walked three batters with just one strikeout in one and one-third innings after taking over in relief for Martin.
Through four innings, the Baysox led 8-1. Five of the eight runners who made it home got on base due to a walk.
Nick Additon threw a tremendous game for Bowie, however. The lefty threw seven complete innings and allowed just one earned run, striking out two batters. He threw just 86 pitches through seven innings, 55 for strikes. Additon advanced to 2-0 this post season, with a 1.38ERA.
Baysox scoring was like an avalanche, but Andrew Knapp tried to light a fire under the Fightins with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning, directly followed by a double by Brock Stassi. Reading would only emerge from the inning with one run, but the remainder of the game concluded smoothly, with both teams producing multiple consecutive three-in-three innings in what was otherwise a dragging game.
“I don’t think anyone is really worried about it, you can clearly see this was not our best effort,” Knapp said. “We’re running on some playoff juice. Once you get to this point of the season everyone is ready to win and go out there and do whatever it takes.”
After their first loss in the postseason, the team is confident going on the road for games three and four with Fightins ace Jake Thompson on the mound to start their stint in Bowie.
“Jake Thompson tomorrow is a pretty good way to bounce back [from the loss],” Wathan joked. “I always say that the way you bounce back and gain momentum is from the starting pitcher. We are pretty comfortable about tomorrow’s game.”