In order to pick up their first road win over the Bethesda Big Train in nearly three years, the Thunderbolts needed to minimize their unforced errors, pitching miscues and mental mistakes. At least for one huge inning Friday night, they did just that.
The Thunderbolts sent 17 batters to the plate in the fourth inning and turned a three-run deficit into an eight-run lead, riding that offensive explosion to a 13-4 win.
Early on, it seemed as if the Big Train would keep things rolling, as they scored three runs in the first three innings off Thunderbolts starter Yash Rane.
Despite some wildness, Rane kept the Thunderbolts in the game before their offensive outburst. He finished the night allowing four runs in four innings while walking seven and striking out four.
Nathan Schneider started strong on the mound for Bethesda, allowing no hits and striking out two in the first three innings. He ran into significant trouble in the fourth, however.
Left fielder Tony Gallo was hit by a pitch to lead off that frame, beginning a sequence where 11 consecutive batters reached base. Schneider gave up five hits and six runs before being lifted for Jarred Billen, who struggled as well. He faced nine batters in the fourth, giving up five runs — one of which was charged to Schneider — and two hits while walking three. The Big Train also committed two errors in the inning.
First baseman Evan Blum led the charge for the Thunderbolts, picking up two hits and four RBI in the fourth. Catcher Luke Trainer, shortstop Ian McMillan and second baseman Brenden Williams also drove in runs during that stretch. Billen eventually got Williams to ground out to end the most prolific Thunderbolt offensive inning in at least 10 years.
Jake Pecilunas came out of the bullpen for the Thunderbolts in the fifth and was dominant, tossing five scoreless innings with six strikeouts while picking up the win.
Billen and Logan Barker kept Silver Spring-Takoma largely at bay after that, though Gallo drove in two more in the top of the ninth to seal the victory.
Listen to a postgame interview with Evan Blum here: