Big Train Shutout Aces In Alexandria

Michael Bechtold (James Madison) threw four scoreless innings for Bethesda.

It was another offensive onslaught for the Bethesda Big Train (19-6) Thursday night as they blanked the Alexandria Aces (9-15) by a final score of 10-0 at Frank Mann Field in Alexandria.

The scoring barrage for Bethesda began in the top of the second. After the inning started with a pair of outs, the Big Train began to rally with two men out. A base hit by Keith Torres III (Sacramento State) started the rally. Then after a pair of walks, Christan Jayne (East Carolina) came to the plate with the bases loaded and drew a walk of his own, as the Big Train took a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Gio Diaz (St. Mary’s CA), would clear the bases with a three-run double to put the Big Train up 4-0. Bethesda’s final run of the inning was scored after a throwing error by the catcher allowed Diaz to score as the Big Train capped off a five-run, two-out rally.

Bethesda would go on to add two more runs in the top of the third as both Torres and Martin Vincelli-Simard (Sacramento State) hit RBI singles to give Bethesda a seven-run lead. The runs were greatly appreciated by starting pitcher Michael Bechtold (James Madison).

“It’s awesome,” Bechtold said of his offense. “You don’t have to worry about a thing out there, you’ve got your guys behind you. It’s just great.”

With seven runs of support, Bechtold tossed a dominant four scoreless innings, and recorded four strikeouts as he lowered his ERA to 1.80 on the season.

“The curveball was working well, the slider was working well, my changeup was a little off today hit one batter with it but locating the fastball was huge,” he said.

A key reason why Bechtold was able to keep the Aces off the scoreboard was shutting down the run game. He kept a fast pace, and catcher Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) was able to gun down two runners trying to steal with the JMU hurler on the mound.

“It’s huge; it’s definitely a huge momentum changer," Bechtold said. "When [Southern] threw the one batter out, it was absolutely huge. It got me back in the windup where I’m most comfortable.”

With a 7-0 lead, the Big Train added insurance in both the sixth and ninth innings. Kobe Kato (Arizona) scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 8-0 in the sixth. In the ninth, Matt Thomas (Wiliam & Mary) hit an RBI triple and later scored home on a double steal to put Bethesda up 10-0.

On the mound, the Big Train bullpen finished the job as the combination of Anthony Piccolino (James Madison), Jared Billen (California Baptist), Ryan Daugherty (St. Mary’s CA), Elliot Zoellner (Maryland) and Chase Lee (Alabama) combined to toss five shutout innings while striking out seven to lock down the 10-0 victory.

“It’s awesome,” Bechtold said of the bullpen. “I know coming out of the game that guys are going to come in and shut the door.”

With the win, Bethesda improved to 4-1 against the Aces and 10-2 on the road this season. It also marked the 11th time that the Big Train scored at least ten runs in a game, and the team is 11-0 when scoring in the double digits. The Big Train will be off for the Fourth Of July Holiday Thursday and Friday but will return home to Shirley Povich Field Saturday for a doubleheader with the FCA Braves. Saturday will be Baltimore Orioles night.

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