Timely hitting and a solid start from Drew Strotman (St. Mary’s, Calif.) led Big Train to a 7-4 victory over the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Montgomery Blair High School.
Silver Spring sent their ace, Conrad Wozniak, to the mound. Coming into the game, Wozniak sported a 0.91 ERA through eight outings. Big Train managed to get to him, though, striking for two in the top of the third. Andrew Bechtold (Maryland) led off the inning with a line drive triple over the left fielder’s head. After Cody Brown (Mississippi State) was hit by a pitch, Ryne Willard (North Carolina State) lifted a fly ball to center that scored Bechtold. A single by Zach Kirtley (St. Mary’s, Calif.) put runners on the corners with one away. Chris Lewis (Sacramento State), the leading RBI man in the league, hit another fly ball to center, and Brown scored on the second sac fly of the inning.
Bethesda struck again in the third, when, with Brandon Hunley (Sacramento State) at second, Tony DiLeo (Eastern Michigan) hit a grounder to short that was booted and then thrown wildly to first. The throwing miscue allowed Hunley to score, as DiLeo ended up at second on the play.
Wozniak was pulled after the fourth, as Bethesda was able to strike for three runs against one of the league’s top starters.
They weren’t done, however, as Hunley and Matt Toscano (St. Mary’s, Calif.) both walked to open up the sixth inning. Another Thunderbolts throwing miscue on a sac bunt by DiLeo allowed Hunley to score from second and put runners on the corners with nobody out. Cody Brown (Mississippi State) lifted a fly ball to right to score Toscano for Bethesda’s fifth run of the night.
Big Train added another in the seventh, when Kirtley managed to score all the way from second on a wild pitch. They struck again in the ninth on an RBI single to left by Lewis.
Meanwhile, Big Train starter Strotman pitched five solid innings, allowing just one run and five hits en route to his fourth victory of the year. He was replaced by Josh Thorne (Stetson), who allowed two unearned runs over an inning of work. Tyler Loptien (San Diego State) and Blake Smith (Mississippi State) each tossed a scoreless inning, and Mike Rescigno (Maryland) allowed one run in the ninth before shutting the door on the Thunderbolts for a 7-4 win.
It was Bethesda’s fourth straight win, and they sit at 26-9 on the season.
Notes: Lewis has 31 RBI on the season, eight more than anyone else in the Cal Ripken League…Kirtley and Willard each had two hits…Big Train managed just six hits, but worked seven walks in the game…Strotman lowered his ERA to 2.60…Big Train returns home Monday night to face the Vienna River Dogs at 7:30 p.m.
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