In an unusually lopsided contest, the Big Train clobbered the Redbirds to take Game 1 of the League Championship Series.
14 Big Train runners crossed the plate to the Redbirds' three. An impressive eight of nine Bethesda starters had hits, and six had two or more.
“We played hard, we had good approaches, we did things the right way, and when you do that, you [win],” manager Sal Colangelo said.
The Big Train put pressure on the Redbirds from the start, getting on the board early by scoring two runs in each of the first three innings. James Outman (Sacramento State) hit a booming RBI double to center field in the first, and Jacob Koos (Stetson) contributed a run-scoring single in the third.
“Everybody put together quality at-bats and got on base, stepping up and executing,” said catcher Justin Morris (Maryland), who reached base in all five of his plate appearances.
Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) and Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) highlighted the offensive showing by connecting for solo and three-run homers, respectively, in a four-run fifth inning.
“It was fun to put up that many runs,” Esposito said.
Starter John Murphy (Maryland) threw five strong innings of two-run ball before a rain delay ended his night. After the 45-minute break, Nash Eppard (Bryant), Cam Vassar (James Madison) and Stephen Schoch (Maryland-Baltimore) combined to put away the Redbirds with four scoreless frames.
With an emphatic Game 1 win, the Big Train began their quest to defend their championship title with an exclamation point.
“Any time you win Game 1, you feel more comfortable,” Colangelo said. “You’re not looking back.”
The Big Train can now confidently turn to Game 2 of the series, which could potentially mark the happy end to another successful season of summer collegiate baseball in Bethesda.
“It’s always fun playing ahead,” Morris said. “This gives us a lot of momentum going forward. We can’t let up. Game 2 is going to be just as big as Game 1.”
Weather permitting, the first pitch of Game 2 at Baltimore's Calvert Hall High School will be an 1 pm on Saturday.
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