Big Train Blank Gaithersburg Giants 4-0 in Season Opener and Beat Dodgers 6-3 in the Second Game

Chris Brown (Mississippi State) compiles three hits in the Big Train season opener.

Powered by the top of their lineup and a strong pitching performance, Bethesda opened the season with a nearly spotless, 4-0, shutout in Gaithersburg Friday.

All offensive power was sparked by the 1-3 hitters’ first two at-bats of the game, as the trio scored all four runs and hit .538 on the evening.

After a first-inning leadoff double, Cody Brown (Mississippi State) scored when Zach Kirtley (St. Mary's, Calif.) reached based on an error by the third baseman.

In the third after back-to-back groundouts, Brown ignited a two-out rally with his second hit of the game, a single to left. Giants starter Kevin Ross walked Matt Toscano (St. Mary's, Calif.) on a full-count, and surrendered a single to Kirtley scoring Brown.

Accuracy plagued Ross in the third. He walked Harrison Crawford (Creighton), his second and final walk of the game, to load the bases for Brandon Gum (George Mason). A timely single to right from the George Mason shortstop scored Toscano and Kirtley, proving to be plenty of security for the Bethesda pitching staff.

Drew Strotman (St. Mary's, Calif.) was credited with the win after throwing five innings and surrendering the Giants only three hits on the night. Striking out seven, Strotman faced 17 batters, just two above the minimum.

Manager Sal Colangelo called on Tyler Tobin (George Mason) and Walker Sheller (Stetson) each for two innings of work to seal Strotman’s outing. Tobin, a college teammate of Gum, used a timely strikeout to mute a hit by pitch in the sixth, and a 6-4-3 double play to cancel a walk to Gaithersburg’s Nick Egli in the seventh.

Sheller struck out the first two batters he faced, and continued to silence the Giants in the game’s final two innings to clinch the first win of the season for the Big Train.

Ryne Willard (North Carolina State) joined the Big Train after NCAA regional action. Willard’s Wolfpack fell to Texas Christian University in consecutive games in the Forth Worth region, ending their Omaha dreams.

Big Train traveled up 95 to Baltimore for their second game of the season and came out victorious, in a 6-3 final.

Big Train took control of the game late, after seeing the scoreboard tilted in the Baltimore Dodgers favor after the first two innings.

Big Train was able to scored one run in the top of the first.  The run was manufactured by Chris Lewis (Sacramento State), who singled home Matt Toscano (St. Mary's College CA), who reached base on a single out of the two hole in the lineup.

Going into the third inning down 2-1, Matt Toscano led off with a single to get the momemntum rolling for Bethesda.  Next batter, Zach Kirtley (St Mary's College CA), doubled which allowed a hustling Toscano to score.  Later that inning, Chris Lewis skied a ball to left field, which eventually let Kirtley get home, giving the Big Train a 3-2 lead.

The scoring subsided the next two innings, but picked up again as Big Train rallied for three more runs in three consecutive innings.  Cody Brown (Mississippi State) and Ryne Willard (NC State) both picked up their first RBI of the game in the sixth and seventh respectively.  On Kirtley's second hit of the night, the final run of the game was scored, giving Big Train the 6-3 win over the Dodgers.

This is the second straight regular season game that the pitching staff for Big Train has only surrendered three hits.  Alex Calvert (South Carolina) started the game and in five innings allowed three hits, and three runs, while striking out five.  The Big Train releivers held the Dodgers in check for the rest of the game. Tyler Loptien (San Diego State) pitched a hitless sixth inning, which Luis Collazo (Virginia Tech) followed up with two shutdown innings of his own.  Collazo struck out three battersm without allowing a hit in his summer 2015 debut.  Blake Smith (Mississippi State) took the mound in the ninth, and shut down the Dodgers in order, facing the minimum three batters.

Notes: Matt Toscano had a three hit night... Zach Kirtley had two hits and two RBI... Ryne Willard had two hits... Sunday June 7 is the Big Train home opener.  Come out to Shirley Povich Field.  Gates open at 6:00 pm.



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