Burleson looked good on the mound once again.
After a seven-game win streak, the Bethesda Big Train (18-3) suffered their third loss of the season in a 5-1 road game agaisnt the Baltimore Redbirds (16-6), characterized by a lack of offense and a few fielding errors.
“We just didn’t hit the ball like we normally [do],” said starting pitcher Alec Burleson (East Carolina). Defense could have been better, I think our arms gave us a chance to win, we’ve just got to put some better swings on some balls in different situations."
The Redbirds got on the board first, after Anthony Servideo walked with two outs in the bottom of the third, made it to third on a single from Joe Zirolli and scored on an error on shortstop A.J. Lee. A groundout ended the inning, after Bethesda starter Alec Burlseon (East Carolina) knocked down a line drive up the middle and under-handed it to first.
Baltimore added another run in the bottom of the sixth, after a one-out double from Kevin Madden followed by a single from Tim Elko. Another Lee error allowed Madden to score, but a quick two groundouts from reliever Anthony Piccolino (James Madison) got the Big Train out of the inning trailing by only two runs.
“I guess we just didn’t make the adjustments to the turf field,” said Jacob Southern (Jacksonville). “We don’t always get to play on turf and it’s a different hot than playing on grass and dirt, obviously.”
The Big Train struggled to work out of jams, giving up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh on a leadoff double, two singles and a walk, and another run in the bottom of the eighth on another leadoff double, a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.
A few times it seemed that Bethesda was about to mount a comeback, with leadoff runners reaching in the second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. But the team had trouble driving in runners, stranding nine on base.
“We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to with the pitcher,” said Southern. “he was pretty good, but we made him better than he was, and he made pitches when he needed to and we didn’t make the adjustments.
Those problems seemed to right themselves in the top of the ninth with one out, when Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) singled to drive in Bryan Diaz (Nova Southeastern), who had doubled to start the inning then taken third base on a wild pitch. But three strikeouts kept the rally to the one run, and ended the game with the Redbirds up 5-1.
Pitching-wise the Big Train were fairly solid. Burleson lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits and one walk, striking out five. After Piccolino finished out the sixth inning, he pitched the seventh, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out one.
Jarret Krzyzanowski (Nova Southeastern) came in for the eighth, giving up one run but striking out two to get the Big Train out of the inning without much additional damage.
The Big Train continue on the road with a doubeheader agaisnt the Rockville Express at Montgomery College-Rockville. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. on July 1.