05/31/2014 8:14 PM
Jake Valdez (St. Mary's College) started off strong striking out the side in the top of the first inning. Valdez struck the third batter out looking on three straight off speed pitches.
In the bottom of the first, returning player, Ryne Willard (N.C. State), recorded the first RBI of the season, driving in Stephen Alemais (Tulane), on a sharp single up the middle. Alemais made several hard defensive plays look easy at second base totaling six assists and two double plays turned. Returning player, Johnny Cole (Coastal Carolina), followed Willard's at bat with a first pitch home run to give the Big Train a 3-0 lead to end the first inning.
In the second inning, Willard (2-6, 2 R, 2 RBI) brought in his second run of the game, scoring Trey Terry (Woodbridge H.S.)
In the third inning the scoring continued when catcher Tony DiLeo (Eastern Michigan) hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Kevin Tatum (Cornell) who ended the game with one hit, scoring three runs, and driving home three runs. By the end of the 5th inning Big Train was up 5-0 and was not looking back.
Valdez, Ray Lambert (Cal State Northridge), Jacob Billingsley (Mississippi St.), Eric Martin (Tennessee), an Andy Frakes (San Francisco) all took the mound for the Big Train and gave up a combined two hits and one run, striking out nine batters in nine innings of work.
Tatum and Grant Brown (Tulane) both had RBI in the bottom of the 6th to give the Big Train a commanding 7-1 lead. Brown had a tremendous night going 5-6 from the plate with two line drive doubles to left field and 3 singles.
The Big Train scored eight runs in the 7th and 8th innings on only six hits. Using great plate discipline to rattle the opposing pitchers, the Big Train accounted for seven walks and 14 hits. Tatum led the team with three walks, while Johnny Cole and returning player, Logan Farrar (Virginia Commonwealth), each had two.
It was a very optimistic first game for the team looking to repeat as regular season champions.
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