Big Train Roundup: March 3 College Update

After a strong summer in Bethesda, Dalton Ponce (BT 2019; St. Mary's of CA) is off to a fast start in his sophomore campaign.

College baseball season is three weeks old now, and many familiar faces from Bethesda wasted no time kicking it into gear for the 2020 campaign. 

We’ll start out west in Moraga, California, where Gio Diaz (BT 2019) has been on fire to start his junior campaign for the St. Mary’s Gaels. He’s hit safely in all ten contests, including seven multi-hit efforts, and paces the team in batting average (.463), on-base (.500), slugging (.488), hits (19), runs scored (7) and stolen bases (3-for-3). 

A pair of former Big Train hurlers are doing their part in the Gaels rotation, too. Carlos Lomeli (BT 2018) owns a 2.37 ERA through three starts. He has struck out 18 in 19.2 innings, and has yet to walk a hitter. Friday against UC Riverside, Lomeli went a season-high seven innings, allowing just one run while striking out four. Dalton Ponce (BT 2019) turned in a near identical outing Sunday against UC Riverside, going allowing one run while striking out four in a career-high 7.1 innings pitched. 

Across the bay, University of San Francisco outfielder Tyler Villaroman (BT 2018-19) is tearing it up at the plate and on the bases. He’s stolen seven bases already -- a team high -- and is now just six steals away from moving into second place all time in school history. Villaroman has hit safely in nine of San Francisco’s 11 games, too, including back-to-back two-hit performances over the weekend against Cal State Fullerton. On the season, he’s slashing .333/.412/.422. Jacob Westerman (BT 2018) hit his first home run of the year Sunday against Cal State Fullerton, and if he had enough at-bats to qualify, his .938 OPS would lead the Dons. 

Keith Torres (BT 2019) leads Sacramento State in OBP (.468), walks (10) and runs scored (10) to go with his lofty .314 batting average. He hit his first home run of the season Sunday against Santa Clara.

Locally, Jack Weeks (BT 2019) is off to a strong start on the mound for the Georgetown Hoyas. In three appearances (two starts) totaling 13 innings, he has not allowed an earned run and owns a 0.77 WHIP. On February 26 against Maryland-Eastern Shore, Weeks tossed seven innings, allowing two walks, one hit and a single unearned run. 

A pair of former Big Train catchers are leading the Virginia Tech offense. Carson Taylor (BT 2018) paces the Hokies in average (.364), on-base (.511) and slugging (.606), including a 4-for-6, four RBI performance Friday against Bryant, in which he finished a home run short of the cycle. Cade Hunter (BT 2019) has made the most of his limited playing time so far, going 4-for-12 with a homer and five RBIs to date. Ryan Okuda (BT 2019) made his first start of the season last week against Radford, allowing one run across four innings while striking out three. 

At Virginia, Stephen Schoch (BT 2016-17) has settled in as the Cavaliers' closer. He's already racked up four saves, and has struck out 20 hitters in 10.2 innings of work. Drew Hamrock (BT 2019) is 2-for-10 so far, but his six walks give him a .500 on-base mark.

Elsewhere in the Old Dominion, James Madison utilityman Fox Semones (BT 2016-19) has cooled down after his blazing hot start to the season, but he still leads the Dukes in homers (3), steals (6) and runs scored (10), while ranking second with a 1.002 OPS.  Matt Thomas (BT 2019) has started all 11 of William & Mary’s games thus far, slashing .263/.451/.368. He leads the Tribe in walks (13) and ranks second in runs scored (10), stolen bases (4) and triples (2), while playing errorless defense at multiple positions. 

Maryland right-hander Elliot Zoellner (BT 2018-19) has yet to allow a run (or baserunner) in three outings this spring, striking out five in 3.2 innings of work. 

Down at East Carolina, Alec Burleson (BT 2018) is off to a solid start both on the mound and at the plate. Through three starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. He struggled last time out, but the outing before, February 22 against Georgia Southern, he struck out seven batters across eight shutout innings, allowing just two singles. Burleson has hit safely in six of the last seven contests, raising his season average to .286, and he hit his first homer of the season in Sunday’s win over High Point. 

Tyler Smith (BT 2017), Burleson’s rotation-mate, has been virtually unhittable this year, allowing just six hits in 13.1 innings (.133 opponents’ average) while striking out 12. Christian Jayne (BT 2019) is 2-for-11 in nine games (four starts) so far this spring. 

After a slow start to the season, Jacob Southern (BT 2018-19) has hit safely in five straight games and six of the last seven. He launched his first homer of the season -- a two-run shot -- Saturday against Austin Peay, and is tied for second on the Dolphins with four doubles. Tyler Naumann (BT 2019) is tied for the team lead with five relief appearances, in which he has struck out 11 and given up just one earned run in 8.1 innings (1.08 ERA). 

Alabama southpaw Brock Guffey (BT 2018) turned in his best relief outing of the season Sunday against Harvard. He faced the minimum nine batters across his three innings, striking out seven while allowing no baserunners. Through four appearances, he owns a 1.29 ERA and 0.43 WHIP. Bethesda fan favorite Chase Lee (BT 2019) ran into some trouble his last time out, but struck out five hitters across three innings in his first two appearances. To date, he has nine strikeouts in 4.2 frames of work, with a 3.86 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. 

Tanner Allen (BT 2017) missed the first few games of the season with injury, but he’s getting back into gear in the center of the Mississippi State order. Saturday against Long Beach State, he went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs.  

In the desert, Quinn Flanagan (BT 2018) leads all Arizona starters with 16.1 innings pitched and 20 strikeouts, and ranks third with a 2.76 ERA. His best outing came opening weekend when he tossed seven scoreless frames with 10 strikeouts against Albany. Kobe Kato (BT 2019) has appeared in eight games, but has yet to start. He is 1-for-5 on the year, with two walks and a .429 OBP. 

John Glenn (BT 2018) is hitting .279 with a homer and 10 RBIs for California Baptist. Jacob McCarvel (BT 2018-19) ranks third among CBU pitchers with 12 innings, and has gone at least two scoreless in two of his last three outings. On the year, he owns a 3.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts against no walks. 

Salisbury’s Jimmy Monaghan (BT 2016) homered on Sunday as part of a two-hit, three RBI performance. On the year, he’s slashing .313/.421/.633. Jarret Krzyzanowski (BT 2018) has established himself as a force out of the Nova Southeastern bullpen, pitching to a 4.11 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. 

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