If strikeouts and saves were the only considerations, Ryan Kohlmeier would be viewed as one of the Baltimore Orioles' top pitching prospects. But the 22-year-old right-hander's progress over the past two seasons has been marred by inconsistency, and last night served as a prime example.
Kohlmeier surrendered a solo home run to Erie's Fausto Tejero leading off the ninth inning, and the SeaWolves held on for a 3-2 victory over the Bowie Baysox in a Class AA Eastern League game before 4,581 at Prince George's Stadium.
Bowie had rallied to tie the game in the eighth on an RBI single by Cesar Devarez.
The loss left Bowie five games behind second-place Harrisburg in the race for the final playoff spot. With only five games left, any Bowie loss or Harrisburg win will end the Baysox' playoff hopes.
Kohlmeier is one of three Baysox players the Orioles have assigned to the Arizona Fall League. The others are top pitching prospect Matt Riley, and highly regarded catcher Jayson Werth.
Kohlmeier, a Kansas native, was a 14th-round draft choice in 1996. He had 24 saves with a 2.65 earned run average for Class A Delmarva in 1997. But last year, split between Class A Frederick and Bowie, he recorded only 12 saves and had an ERA over 6.00.
He entered last night's game with 22 saves and a 3.15 ERA this season.
"I'm very, very happy with his progress this year," said Bowie Manager Joe Ferguson. "Last year it was tough for him to compete at this level. He's developed a better command of his fastball, and he's added a slider."