Zach Jancarski (Maryland)
Zach Jancarski (Maryland) never tries to hit a home run when he is at the plate, he said.
However, the East Norriton, Pennsylvania native belted one over the left field fence on his first swing in his Big Train debut.
“It was definitely cool,” Jancarski said. “I’m never really looking to hit a homer but I know I hit it pretty good and it was definitely a good start.”
Thanks to a fresh infusion of talent, the Big Train bats, led by Jancarski, came alive for 12 hits Saturday night in an 11-1 win over the Rockville Express.
“I thought our hitters had a much better approach at the plate,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “We weren’t just going up there free swinging.”
Jancarski, who kicked off the night with a leadoff homer, finished 3-for-3 and reached base on all five of his at bats.
“You’ve got to come out here every day and kind of earn your spot,” Jancarski said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re playing, nothing is given to you. So just come out, working hard every day and just try and get in the lineup and just keep moving along.”
Justin Morris (Maryland), also got his first start for the Big Train Saturday night. The senior went 0-for-4 at the plate but held down the fort at first base, his secondary position.
“He had some good ABs after about a week and a half off,” Colangelo said. “It’s tough when you take a week and a half off to go lock in but he was good.”
Jacob Koos (Stetson) also joined in on the hit parade, going 2-for-5 with a double. After going 3-for-22 in his previous five games, Koos felt he finally settled down enough to get a few hits.
“I mean you’re struggling to get a hit and you try and do anything and change anything but I finally just realized just relax, it’ll come and did,” Koos said.
AJ Jones (FAU) got the win for the Big Train going six innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits along with three strikeouts. Jones’ strong start comes on the heels of Ty Madrigal’s dominant seven-inning performance Friday night. The two strong starts give the team hope after struggling to get starters out of the first three innings early in the season.
“Pitchers did a nice job coming after guys,” Colangelo said. “Hats off to AJ –threw a great game, but coming after guys and doing what we need to do. When you walk 12 guys a game you’re not going to win.”
Austin Keen (Kentucky), another new face to the roster, pitched two strong innings of relief, giving up only one hit and striking out two.
Other notable performances included Michael Emodi (Creighton) and Kevin Milam (St. Mary's) extending their hitting streaks to eight games each. Milam has been a major sparkplug for the Big Train offense, hitting .414 with three RBIs and four runs in 29 at-bats.
Following the long home stand that concluded Saturday night, the Big Train embark on a six-game road trip Sunday afternoon. The first set of games will be a doubleheader against the Loudon River Dogs at Rock Ridge High School. The first game is scheduled for 4:30.