Through their first three games, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts’ starters have seen mixed success while their bullpen has remained strong.
That script was flipped Saturday night, as the bullpen blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning en route to a 7-6 loss to the FCA Braves.
The Thunderbolts jumped on Braves starter Jonah Frankel early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first as right fielder Quinn McKenna blasted a home run to left.
Thunderbolts starter Bradyn Kail then settled in, allowing just three baserunners in the first four innings as he consistently worked ahead in counts.
Brady Pearre and Tyler Murray gave Kail some insurance in the fifth, as they each drove in a run, chasing Frankel in the process. Frankel finished the day allowing four runs, five walks and five hits while striking out two across 4.2 innings.
Cameron Taylor came on to pitch for the Braves and was immediately greeted by a Lucas Donlon RBI single, extending the Thunderbolts’ lead to 5-0.
Kail cruised into the bottom of the fifth, getting the first two batters out before giving up a single and a walk. Braves center fielder Reid Singewald then broke through, driving in Braden Odom and Jordan Ebersole on a booming double, cutting the lead to 5-2.
Tony Gallo led off the sixth with a solo home run to briefly put the Thunderbolts back up by four.
Kail allowed the first two batters of the bottom of the sixth to reach base and was lifted for Tyler Dyball. Kail allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings while striking out five and walking three.
Braves first baseman Brian Schaub then drove in Ryan M. Davis to cut into the Thunderbolts’ lead again.
Taylor and Nick Escoto shut down the Thunderbolts from there, allowing no runs through the ninth. Dyball cruised through the seventh and eighth innings, and it looked like the Thunderbolts were in line for their third consecutive win.
But things fell apart in the ninth inning.
Greg Albert made his season debut for the Thunderbolts and loaded the bases with one out. Davis drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to close the gap to 6-4, and then Ryan P. Davis sent a game-tying single into center field, plating Jack Cone and Will Knight.
Schaub was up next and grounded a ball to shortstop Ian McMillan, who booted it and allowed Davis to score the winning run, capping the Braves’ comeback.
The Thunderbolts will look to put this collapse behind them tomorrow evening as Tanner Jacobson takes the mound against the Gaithersburg Giants to close a three-game road trip.