Senators’ home opener was Jefry Rodriguez’s time to shine

Jefry Rodriguez made his Class AA debut in Bowie last Friday as he allowed five runs in 5.1 innings. The 24-year-old couldn’t get out of the sixth inning that night as he gave up three runs in the frame including a two-run home run to Orioles’ top prospect Austin Hayes.

One week later, it was a completely different story as the right-hander scattered only four singles over 6.2 shutout innings against the same Baysox lineup to earn his first victory of the season as the Senators bested Bowie 5-1 on Friday night at FNB Field.

“I thought he was in total control of the ballgame from the first pitch,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I was really proud when he went a got a couple of shutdown innings after we scored.”

The 6-foot-6 right-hander was in command as just one Baysox baserunner reached third base off him only to be stranded there by reliever Austen Williams.

“It’s a good sign from a kid who comes up from A-ball and puts together two back-to-back outings against the same club,” LeCroy said. “And they have some guys over there that can swing it; veteran guys that know how to play.”

Rodriguez, the Nationals 24th ranked prospect according to Baseball America, appeared the part as he touched 95 on the in-stadium gun and did a great job mixing in his breaking ball and change-up to keep the Bowie bats at bay.

“Him and Mike (Tejera) have a really good relationship,” LeCroy said. “I think Gushue has done a really nice job with him too mixing it up and getting him through some innings.

“Tonight was almost perfect. The weather was great. We played really well.”

***

The Senators drew 6,758 in their largest home opener in history…Khayyan Norfork drove in three runs on the night on two singles and fielder’s choice…Taylor Gushue drove his first home run of the season onto the boardwalk over Ollie’s Cheap Seats…Dan Gamache continued his assault on Eastern League pitching going 2-for-4 to raise his league-leading batting average to .462 on the season.

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