Needing one more hit to complete an improbable comeback, James Outman (Sacramento State) delivered the knockout punch with a two-out, two-strike single.
“[I] was feeling good in BP,” Outman said. “Mario [Porto] was helping me out with my swing a little bit earlier today and I guess it hit off obviously.”
Outman’s game-winning single capped off a wild 11-10 Big Train win Monday night. Outman was 3-for-3 with two singles, a home run and four RBI. The win is also the sixth victory in the first seven games for the Big Train.
“I think the last two years we’ve had the MVP of the league and both have come from Sac State,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “And it wouldn’t surprise me as he goes and continues to go he might be the third one.”
The Big Train were caught playing catch-up from the get-go as Loudoun’s Joey Goldsmith hit a three-run bomb in the top of the first. However, Outman responded with a two-run blast of his own, leaving the Big Train behind 3-2 early.
Outman said he saw a fastball over the middle-outside of the plate and was able to drive it well over the right-center fence.
The Big Train found themselves even farther behind in the fifth after Pieter Nelson hit solo-shot to finish a four-run inning for the Riverdogs, who led 8-2 at the time.
Bethesda began their heroic comeback in the bottom of the seventh after Logan Driscoll (George Mason) ripped an RBI single. The Big Train continued their resurgence three runs in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by another Driscoll RBI single. The madness culminated in Outman’s game-ending RBI single that ended a wild, four-run bottom of the ninth for the Big Train.
“I was telling myself to look for something up, score a run, get a hit, don’t try and do too much,” Outman said.
Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) and Outman, who hit third and fourth respectively, led the Big Train offense Monday night. The Sacramento State products accounted for six RBIs, five hits and three walks. Following a single in the ninth, Esposito set up Outman’s winning hit after he advanced to second on a passed ball.
“It was nice to get a hit there at the end,” Esposito said. “Just trying to see something in the middle of the zone and attack it and luckily it floated one in for a single and Jimmy did the rest.”
Esposito, who normally hits back-to-back with Outman at Sacramento State, described how the duo likes to push each other when hitting close together.
“We like competing,” Esposito said. “Right now he’s got me with one home run, I’ve got none so hopefully I can get on the board here shortly.”
The game also provided a major test early for the defending Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Champs. Manager Sal Colangelo stressed the importance of the big game experience gained Monday night and how it can help the team going forward and potentially into the postseason.
“It’s a long season,” Colangelo said. “Knowing you can do it, believing in yourself, knowing it doesn’t matter how many you’re down, you’re going to win the ballgame. And that’s the character of the players.”
As for the pitchers, Blake Sanderson went three innings giving up three runs on six hits and three strikeouts. Stephen Schoch (UMBC) and Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) both pitched two-innings of relief striking out three batters apiece. Milam was also named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-American First Team just prior to first pitch.
“We did what we needed to do,” Colangelo said. “We lined it up and we got it done.”
The Big Train will get Tuesday off before continuing their seven-game home stand Wednesday night against the Baltimore Redbirds, the 2016 CRCBL finalists.
“I think we really bonded over that win tonight,” Outman said. “And I’m excited for the rest of the summer.”
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