Coming off their first loss of the season, the Bethesda Big Train will turn their sights towards the Loudoun Riverdogs Monday night as their seven-game home stand continues.
The Riverdogs enter the contest at 2-3, while the Big Train sit 5-1. In their 7-3 loss to the Alexandria Aces on Sunday, the Big Train pitching, which has been consistent all season, fell short in major holes. Cameron Vassar (James Madison) walked in three runners before fighting his way out of the jam. However, those three runs proved costly.
“Couldn’t find the zone that great today but they went out and they still competed,” assistant coach Tyler McKee said after the loss. “They didn’t go scared. They were throwing their pitches with full arm speed and so I’m not too upset.”
Blake Sanderson (FAU) will be on the bump for the Big Train Monday. In his first outing, the Orlando native went five innings, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts. He enters Monday’s game with a 1.80 ERA.
“I’m just going to give the team the best chance to win, and I’m just going to give my best stuff and whatever happens, happens,” Sanderson said.
If Sanderson can get another five innings of work, the Big Train appear to be in good hands with Stephen Schoch (UMBC) and Mitchell Wilson (UMBC) available out of the pen. Schoch, a 6'5" lefty, has been one of the team's most dependable arms, pitching six innings, allowing four hits to go with 11 strikeouts.
However, McKee expects Wilson to be the first arm out of the pen Monday. In his only action of the season against the D.C. Grays, Wilson went four innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while fanning three.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” McKee said. “It seems to be working fine so we’re not going to panic, we’re not going to go crazy on them.”
Isaiah Pasteur (George Washington) presents the most daunting challenge for the Big Train pitching staff, as he sits third in the league in batting average at .429 on six of 14 hitting with a double and three stolen bases.
“We’ve heard that they can swing it but we’re going to attack and we’re going to throw it in the zone and see what they can do,” McKee said.
Logan Driscoll (George Mason) and Gaby Cruz (Bryant) should continue to lead the offense as both are hitting .400 on the young season, while the Sacramento State duo of Vinny Esposito, last year’s league MVP, and James Outman will look to get going as their seasons start rolling along. Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) will also look to stay hot after going five for nine in his first three games since reporting to the team.
“They’re always competitive when they play us,” Manager Sal Colangelo said of the Riverdogs. “Our division is pretty good, we’re just going to put the best nine out there tomorrow and grind it out and have some fun.”
First pitch is at 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field.
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