Despite an offensive explosion in Game 1, the Big Train couldn’t get much of anything in Saturday’s 15-4 loss to the Baltimore Redbirds.
“They caught the ball and we didn’t,” Jordan Sergent (High Point), who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, said. “They found holes and we hit it right to them, so that’s baseball sometimes.”
At the plate the Big Train were doomed by a lack of timely hitting. By leaving nine runners on base Saturday, Bethesda continued their recent and disconcerting trend of stranding men after leaving 14 on in Game 1.
“We got to get pitches up in the zone that we can drive,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “We’re getting ourselves out.”
Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) was handed the ball to start Game 2 for the Big Train. The sophomore was roughed up early giving up a two-run homer to Cole Zabowski in the first. Milam then settled in for a solid three-inning stretch before getting chased in the fifth.
After the Redbirds sent Milam packing, Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) started a small charge for the Big Train in the sixth, knocking an RBI single up the middle to score college teammate James Outman from third.
Following a passed ball that scored Luke Heyer (Kentucky), Justin Morris (Maryland) grounded to the first baseman scoring Esposito from third, cutting the Redbirds lead to three.
The Redbirds answered resoundingly with six runs in the bottom of the seventh and two in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
“You can’t let it get to you,” Esposito said. “We did the same thing to them [Thursday] so obviously they didn’t let it get to them and we’ll do the same.”
The Big Train must rebound quickly as the decisive Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday night at Shirley Povich Field.
Tyler Smith (East Carolina), Sunday’s projected starter, has yet to pitch in the postseason but went five innings and gave up just one run on three hits in his last start against the Loudoun Riverdogs on July 17.
“Just go out there and compete and give them a chance to win,” Smith said of his mindset for Game 3. “Go as long as I can for as hard as I can.”
First pitch is listed for 7 p.m. barring a change in weather.
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