For the second straight night, the Big Train went into extra innings, this time coming out on the wrong end against the Baltimore Redbirds, 4-3, in twelve innings. The Big Train fell to 19-5 on the season and lost sole possession of the league’s best record.
The scoring began in the bottom of the third when the Redbirds third baseman hit a solo homerun off of Big Train starter Chris Monaco (Virginia Tech). The Big Train collected three runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 3-1, capped off with singles from Logan Farrar (Virginia Commonwealth), Cody Brown (Mississippi State), and Justin Morris (Maryland). However, the Big Train quickly relinquished the lead, giving up two to the Redbirds in the bottom of the fourth to knot the score at three apiece. That was the end of scoring until the twelfth inning.
Both teams had good opportunities to score runs but failed to cash in. The Redbirds had an opportunity in the bottom of the eighth when the first batter of the frame got on base with the middle of the order coming up. However, the runner was thrown out trying to steal second base on a perfect throw by catcher Justin Morris. The Big Train’s best opportunity came in the top of the tenth, when first baseman Tim Yandel (Tulane) hit the first pitch of the inning for a double. Designated Hitter Nick Feight (UNC Wilmington) then hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield, advancing Yandel to third with one out, after which the Redbirds made a pitching change. The new Redbirds pitcher struck out the next two batters to retire the side. He wound up striking out five in two and two thirds innings pitched and allowed just one baserunner en route to the win.
The first Redbird hitter of the bottom of the twelfth worked a walk, the second was hit by a pitch, and the third batter of the frame hit a deep fly ball that advanced the lead runner to third with one out. The runner on first stole second base, after which the Big Train elected to intentionally walk the Redbirds’ cleanup man, who was ahead in the count 2-1. The fifth batter of the inning hit a groundball that found a hole between shortstop and third base for a walk-off single.
Right-hander Chris Monaco (Virginia Tech) started and went five innings and gave up three hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out three for the no-decision. Mike Rescigno (Maryland) contributed two scoreless relief innings. Blake Smith (Mississippi State) added a scoreless relief inning, and southpaw Luis Collazo (Virginia Tech) recorded two outs in the bottom of the ninth but then hit a batter and walked a batter, after which Walker Sheller (Stetson) replaced Collazo. Sheller got a clutch strikeout to end the inning, and pitched scoreless tenth and eleventh innings, but allowed the base runner to reach in the twelfth that eventually scored the winning run, giving him his second loss of the season. Josh Thorne (Stetson) came in to pitch the twelfth after Sheller walked and hit a batter to begin the frame, but allowed the inherited runner to score.
Notes: Four of the last five Big Train games have ended on walk-offs. The Big Train is 2-2 in those four games…Big Train pitching struggled with control in this one, walking nine Redbird hitters (eight unintentional) and hitting four…The Big Train is now 1-2 against the Redbirds, the only team Bethesda has a losing record against…After two days off, the Big Train once again goes for that 20th win, against the Rockville Express Sunday night at 7:30, at Povich Field. Because July 4th is an off day, we will be celebrating 4th of July on Sunday. All active, reserve, and retired military members and their families will receive free admission, all kids will receive firecracker ice pops, and all fans will receive mini American flags.
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