The Big Train only needed eight innings to defeat the Braves on Wednesday, as a 14 run explosion in the top of the eighth propelled the Big Train to a dominating 19-2 decision for their league leading 17th victory of the season.
Prior to the eighth inning eruption, the Braves came out of the gates hot, as they opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two run homer into the trees in right field. However, those were the only runs they would register the entire evening.
After defensive web gems from Keith Torres (Sacramento State) and Matt Thomas (William & Mary) saved a couple of hits in the bottom of the second, the Big Train’s bats started to heat up in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and no outs, Rocco Peppi (Long Beach State) hit a laser RBI single up the middle to bring home Ryley Johnson (East Carolina) from third. The next batter, Jack Cone (William & Mary) hit a sac fly, scoring Torres to tie the game.
After a scoreless bottom of the third, Johnson gave the Big Train a 3-2 lead in the fourth with an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Christian Martin (Virginia Tech) from second. A few moments later, Torres scored Dylan Hatfield (Virginia Tech) from third on an RBI groundout. With the bases loaded later in the frame, Cone hit his second sacrifice fly of the evening to make it 5-2 Big Train.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, a sudden downpour of rain delayed the game for approximately 30 minutes. After the rain delay concluded, zeros lined the scoreboard until the top of the eighth. By inning’s end, the scoreboard read 19–2 in favor of the Big Train.
Peppi kicked off the hitting party, knocking in Hatfield from third on an RBI single. The next batter, Cone, brought home Darius Foster (San Francisco) from third with his third sacrifice fly of the evening. Then, Kemp Alderman (Ole Miss) stepped up to the plate and casually hit a three-run homer over the center field fence that the International Space Station might’ve been able to see. After Alderman’s moonshot, Hatfield drove in two more runs on a single. Moments later, Torres scored Hatfield on an RBI single of his own. Thomas collected himself an RBI hit as well, scoring Foster.
At this point, the Big Train had officially batted around in the top of the eighth, as Peppi stepped up to the plate for his second at bat of the inning. He ripped a two-run double to make it 16–2 Big Train. Finally, with a homer under his belt already in the eighth, Alderman sent another ball over the center fence for his second long ball of the inning, capping off a 14-run offensive firestorm from the Big Train in the eighth.
The lead was safe enough to where pitcher Everett Catlett (Georgetown) got a rare chance to bat in the top of the eighth. After taking two fastballs for two strikes, Catlett whiffed on a slider for strike three. Despite the strikeout, the effort was valiant.
“I thought I was going to see three straight fastballs,” Catlett said of his mindset after the first two pitches. “And I said, ‘Oh, I’m a PO (pitcher only), I’m getting a third fastball’; I was ready. Then he threw me a slider, and I wasn’t ready.”
The otherworldly offensive performance from the Big Train reflected as such in the box score; eight different players recorded at least one RBI, and all but one starter collected at least one hit. Peppi lead the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, but Alderman’s two homers in one inning were the highlights of the night.
The Big Train hit the road again on Thursday to take on the Alexandria Aces at 6:30 p.m.
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