Twice this season at Criswell Automotive Field, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts started fast, only to fade in the later innings against the Gaithersburg Giants due to a bullpen collapse.
Wednesday night was no different, as the Giants used a seven-run seventh inning to power past the Thunderbolts 8-3.
Silver Spring-Takoma looked strong early, scoring first for the fifth consecutive game. Luke Trainer doubled off the left field wall with one out, plating Ian McMillan and Tony Gallo to put the Thunderbolts up 2-0.
Gaithersburg answered in the bottom of the inning, as Gino Avros scored on a fielder’s choice to cut the Thunderbolts lead in half.
In the third inning, Gallo restored the Thunderbolts lead to two with a sacrifice fly off Giants’ starter Thomas Burbank.
Burbank tossed five innings of three-run ball, striking out four and walking one while giving up four hits.
The Thunderbolts did not mount a serious offensive threat for the rest of the game, and it seemed that it would not matter due to Luke Rettig’s stellar start. He allowed just three hits and one run across five innings, striking out four and lowering his ERA to 3.79.
Austin Weber came on in the sixth inning and dominated early but ran into trouble in the seventh. He struck out Ethan Wentzlaff to begin the inning but could not record another out.
Braden Doughty walked for the third time to begin the offensive outburst, scoring two batters later along with Avros on Brandon Greim’s game-tying double.
Cade Doughty tripled in Greim one batter later to give Gaithersburg their first lead of the day. Doughty then took home on a delayed steal to further the Giants’ lead to 5-3, and Weber’s night was over.
Weber gave up six runs on four hits with one walk while striking out three across 1.1 innings, taking the loss.
The onslaught continued against new Thunderbolts pitcher Brenden Williams. Tommy Crider came home on the second delayed steal of the inning to put the Giants up by three. Jared Johnson then singled in two more runs, extending the Giants’ lead to five.
Matt Watters shut down the Thunderbolts from there, allowing no baserunners in the final two innings as Gaithersburg snapped Silver Spring-Takoma’s three-game winning streak.
The Thunderbolts will look to get back on track Thursday against league-leading Bethesda. Bryan Gilliam is slated to start.