I had a similar game with Ferdie, kPax, and five other players who were mostly inexperienced (doing silly things like going fast trade on the front or starbasing in the pocket). Ferdie could have probably killed kPax if his Vasari ally had helped him out, but that ally got spooked with me on his flank and starbased up (then after starbasing thought he could rush and kill me? You just wasted thousands of credits - given a lot of it was feed - on defenses and think you can beat someone whose gone 100% fleet? Gimme a break...). That ally became a lame duck for the remainder of the game and I more or less trapped him behind his pretty starbase line, but he did keep my fleet occupied most of the time and unable to push.
In the end, we won because of two factors. First, kPax and I weren't requesting feed in the early game (it was only once kPax started pushing back after being reduced just to his HW that he needed feed) so all our team's feed was going towards our other front-liner, who was able to maintain a larger fleet and win like that. Secondly, Ferdie and his pocket ally charged into a TEC starbase, so I rigged it to detonate and they lost their entire fleet. Since a PJI survived the blast, we also killed more than half of their capital ships in the immediate aftermath. If that hadn't been enough to win the game, our team had #1, 2, and 3 for eco at this point and I had pervasive economy coming online within the next few minutes.
It honestly looked like a comeback in our case, too, but all things considered this was a classic case of one side of the map just needing to hold out long enough for the other side to win. Their pocket had made the mistake of distributing feed equally, while our team put all our feed on one flank while the other played defensively (I sent my Akkan around the block to colonize stuff and got one hell of a trade chain in the long run)