A two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh helped Big Train defeat the visiting Vienna River Dogs 3-2 Friday night.
Backed by solid pitching throughout the game, Big Train was able to take advantage of a Vienna miscue in the seventh to score the deciding run in what would be their fifth straight victory.
Bethesda had an opportunity to strike right away, when Logan Farrar (Virginia Commonwealth) and Cody Brown (Mississippi State) hit back to back singles to open the bottom of the first. After Farrar was tagged out on a fielder’s choice, Chris Lewis (Sacramento State) reached on an infield single to short to load the bases with just one away. Brown was able to score on a wild pitch, but River Dogs starter Mark Gunst was able to strike out the next two batters to work out of the jam, and Big Train had to settle for just one run in the frame.
The River Dogs pitching staff was able to keep Bethesda’s offense in check after the first, allowing just four baserunners over the next five innings, but the Big Train pitching staff was just as dominant, as Drew Strotman (St. Mary’s, Calif.), Mark Nowatnick (Florida Atlantic) and Walker Sheller (Stetson) combined to throw six shutout innings.
Vienna finally had an opportunity to score in the seventh, when Daniel Ferguson walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a groundout. After a wild pitch moved Ferguson up to third, River Dogs right fielder Shaun Wood launched a two-run homer over the fence in right center to give them a 2-1 lead.
But Big Train was able to answer in the bottom half of the inning, as Logan Farrar scored from second on a two-out double to right by Cody Brown to tie the game at 2. Brown then stole third, and a subsequent walk to Zach Kirtley (St. Mary’s, Calif.) put runners on the corners. Lewis hit a grounder to short that could have gotten Vienna out of the inning, but the shortstop booted it and threw wildly to first, allowing Brown to score the go-ahead run from third.
Josh Thorne (Stetson) retired the River Dogs on four pitches in the eighth, and Tyler Tobin (George Mason) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up the save in the 3-2 victory.
Notes: Strotman pitched three scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.69 on the season…Nowatnick has not allowed a run this season in 5 2/3 innings of work…Sheller picked up his first win of the year…Brown and Lewis each had multi-hit games…Bethesda is now 12-2 on the year, which is the best mark in the Cal Ripken League…Big Train hits the road to take on the D.C. Grays Saturday at 1 p.m…they return home Monday night to face the Rockville Express at 7:30 p.m.
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