Big Train overcome early deficit, defeat Grays 97 in electric comeback victory
After falling behind 7-0 in the top of the third, the Big Train scored nine unanswered runs over the next five innings to steal a victory from the Grays 9-7 for their league-leading 15th victory of the season.
The Grays opened the scoring in the top of the first on an RBI groundout to make it 1-0 in favor of DC. The Big Train were unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning.
In the top of the second, the Grays tacked on another run via an RBI double. In the top of the third, after a couple of walks loaded the bases, a three-run double off the center field wall made it 5-0 Grays. Moments later, a fielding error and a wild pitch extended the Grays lead to seven runs. When Darius Foster (San Francisco) caught the third out of the inning for the Big Train in left field, it ended a disastrous top of the third.
But despite the early deficit, the Big Train refused to back down. They finally got on the board in the bottom of the third when Foster ripped an RBI single into center, scoring Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) from third. After a scoreless top half of the fourth, the Big Train continued their comeback in the bottom of the fourth, starting with Grant Knipp (Alabama) scoring on an error by the right fielder. A couple of batters later, Gauthier laced a two-run double into the right center field gap, scoring Gumpf and Nolan Schanuel (Florida Atlantic) to cut the Grays lead to three.
After another scoreless top half of the inning for the Grays, the Big Train continued to cut into the Grays lead, when Schanuel scored Matt Thomas (William & Mary) from third on an RBI single to make it a two-run ballgame. The next batter, Gumpf, knocked in Knipp from third on an RBI single to left to cut the Grays lead to one.
Zeroes lined the scoreboard until the bottom of the eighth, when Gumpf hit a solo homer just over the left field fence to tie the game at seven. The next batter, Kyle Velasquez (Saint Mary’s CA), nearly brought the house down with a go-ahead pinch-hit solo homer, but the ball fell just a few feet short of the fence, as the left fielder was able to make the catch.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Danny Neri (Notre Dame) took ball four on a 3–2 pitch to bring in Gauthier from third, giving the Big Train an 8-7 lead. The next batter, Knipp, hustled his way to first off of a fielding error by the Grays second baseman, bringing in another run to make it 9-7.
Foster, Gumpf, Thomas and Schanuel each collected two hits, but it was Gumpf who led the way for Bethesda at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-tying solo shot in the eighth.
“I was feeling good at the plate,” Gumpf said. “I got one in the zone, and I drove it.”
On the mound, Ryan Lynch (Notre Dame) started for the Big Train, striking out three Grays in two innings of work. Kemp Alderman (Ole Miss) threw two hitless innings in relief, striking out three Grays. Matt Howat (William & Mary) struck out two Grays in two innings of relief, and Ryan Metz (Virginia Tech) shut the door in the eighth and ninth innings, striking out all six batters he faced.
The Big Train return to Shirley Povich Field for their next game on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the South County Braves, where they’ll look to continue their positive momentum from Sunday’s comeback victory.
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