The Bethesda Big Train played their first doubleheader of the season against the Metro SOCO Braves on Monday night in Lorton, Va. The first game was started back on Jun. 8 but heavy rains forced the game's suspension after the Big Train took a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning. Tonight, the Big Train took care of business, scoring five runs in the ninth to pad their lead, eventually winning 10-3.
Brandon Clarke (Alabama) got his first start of the regular season and first start coming back from Tommy John Surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome when the game first began. While he looked shaky at the start, walking two of the first eight batters faced, he settled in to strike out two over two innings.
Meanwhile, the Big Train set their pattern of scoring first in games in this early-season matchup when Peyton Schulze (Long Beach State) brought Colton Hegwood (Louisiana Tech) home with an RBI groundout to give Bethesda a 1-0 lead.
The Big Train added two more runs in the top of the fifth to make it 3-0. Clay Wargo (Coastal Carolina) brought home TJ Rogers (Austin Peay) with an RBI double and came around to score himself when the Braves shortstop committed an error on a grounder off the bat of Garrett Felix (Nicholls State).
In the bottom half, the Braves got a run back on a wild pitch by Luke Baker to make it a two-run game.
South County kept its momentum going into the sixth inning. After the Big Train left three runners stranded in the top half, outfielder Quinn Madden sent a towering two-run home run to left, tying the game at three and knocking Baker from the game after 3.1 innings.
With the score tied in the seventh, the Braves had a runner on second and a chance to break the 3-3 tie.
But the Big Train defense squelched the presumptive rally. A line drive from Braves DH Danny Salisbury looked ticketed for the right-centerfield gap, but second baseman Rogers made an incredible leaping catch and tossed the ball to shortstop Emilien Pitre (Kentucky) at second to double off the runner.
That play gave the road team bench life and they would cash in on it in the top of the 8th.
After Trey Winget (St. Mary’s College (CA)) scored on an unearned run to give the Big Train a 4-3 lead, Felix brought Rogers home on a single to end the inning. Bethesda led 5-3 before the rains came, suspending the game before the start of the bottom of the eighth.
On the restart, Jordan Little (ECU) came in to close out the win and was dominant, pitching two scoreless innings. And the Big Train made his life even easier when they plated five in the top of the ninth. Wargo’s two-run RBI single made it 8-3 and the Big Train added two more runs resulting in a 10-3 win.
The two teams regrouped and began the regularly scheduled game from June 27 shortly after the completion of the suspended game. For the recap of that game, a 2-0 Braves win, please see Ian Decker's story here.
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