Big Train Sweep Dodgers in Critical Doubleheader

By: Ben Portnoy

Luke Heyer (Kentucky) homered twice and the Big Train pitching staff shut down the Baltimore Dodgers in a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night at Shirley Povich Field.

The Big Train’s wins, their first over the Dodgers this year, evened the season series between the squads at 2-2 in their final meetings of the year. Bethesda now sits at 25-9 while Baltimore drops to 14-19.

“It’s always nice to spank the team that spanked you,” Heyer said. “It’s definitely nice to come back and show them who we are.”

In the first game of the day pitcher Tyler Smith (East Carolina) was superb on the mound. The sophomore went five innings, giving up one run on seven hits along with two strikeouts.

“He threw well; very competitive,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “He had good command, kept us in the game and did what we needed.”

In the bottom of the first James Outman (Sacramento State) hit an RBI double while Heyer, who entered the day hitting .500 in his last five games, added a two-run shot to left-center giving the Big Train an early 3-0 lead.

Bethesda added on another two runs in the second and one in both the third and fourth before coasting to a 7-2 win.

In Game Two, a 3-0 Bethesda win, the Big Train started slow at the plate. Baltimore pitcher Ryan Bunse had a no-hitter through the fourth inning – then Heyer stepped to the plate for his second at-bat of the contest. The Kentucky third baseman blasted Bunse’s second pitch over the high wall in dead-centerfield, breaking up the no-hitter and putting the Big Train ahead 1-0.

“Luke’s on fire,” Colangelo said. “He’s seeing the ball well, probably a beach ball coming in there, and he’s putting a good hack on it.”

Fox Semones (James Madison), who has seen limited action, also added a run in the fourth with a two-out double to the left-center gap, scoring Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) from third. Semones finished 2-for-3 at the plate.

“I think I toned down some things in the cage and was really able to put the bat on the ball today,” Semones said. “

AJ Jones (State College of Florida) went four innings giving up four hits as the starter in the late game. Cam Vassar (James Madison), who relieved Jones in the fifth inning, was stellar in his ninth appearance of the season. The hard throwing righty pitched two innings of two-hit ball along with three strikeouts.

“He’s a key part of our bullpen,” Colangelo said of Vassar. “It was good to see that ‘cause coming down the stretch we’re going to need that.

Closer Stephen Schoch (UMBC) picked up his fourth save of the season after forcing a fly out to first and striking out two in the ninth.

The sweep Wednesday signifies two major victories for the Big Train as they now sit just one game back of the Alexandria Aces in the South Division with six games remaining. The Big Train take on the Aces Thursday in Alexandria.

“Just going to come hard, play hard for nine innings and be celebrating it when we’re done,” Colangelo said.

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