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Big Train Roundup: Wrapping Up the 2020 College Season

Carson Taylor (Virginia Tech; BT 2018) led the Hokies with a .431 average and 20 RBIs this spring.

The final game of the 2020 college baseball campaign came a lot sooner than predicted, finishing off the seasons (and possibly careers) for many Big Train alumni who were off to hot starts. Let’s take a look back and highlight all of their impressive seasons that were cut too short.

Carson Taylor | BT 2018 | C/1B | Sophomore | Virginia Tech

Final line: .431/.541/.690, 7 2B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 12 BB

It’s hard to follow up a breakout freshman campaign with an even more impressive sophomore season, but that’s just what Carson Taylor did this spring. He led Virginia Tech in almost every offensive category, and ranked among ACC leaders in RBIs (20; 2nd), OPS (1.231; 2nd), batting average (.431; 3rd), doubles (7; 3rd) and hits (25; T-4th). He tallied multiple hits in seven of his 16 games, including two four-hit games, and walked 12 times while striking out just five. In his final three contests, he went a combined 9-for-14 with four doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs. While it is unfortunate that Taylor’s 2020 was cut so short, expect another fantastic campaign from him in 2021. 

Alec Burleson | BT 2018 | LHP/1B/OF | Junior | East Carolina

Final hitting line: .375/.440/.547, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 17 R

Final pitching line: 2-1, 4.24 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 22:4 K:BB

One of the best two-way prospects in the nation, Alec Burleson stormed out of the gate on the mound, and had just found his groove at the plate when the season was suspended, collecting multiple hits in four of his last five contests. His final weekend series -- March 6-8 -- against UNC Charlotte showcases his true abilities. In Friday’s contest, he struck out seven over 5.2 innings on the mound to pick up the win, while also going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks at the plate. Over the next two games, he went a collective 6-for-9 with a homer, a double, two RBIs and four runs scored. Oh, and the best Burleson hitting stat? In 64 at-bats, he had as many homers (3) as he did strikeouts.

Tyler Villaroman | BT 2018-19 | OF | Senior | San Francisco

Final line: .342/.407/.438, 1 HR, 2 2B, 14 R, 13/15 SB/SBA

Tyler Villaroman came into the season needing 13 stolen bases to move into sole possession of second all-time in San Francisco Dons history, and despite playing only 17 games in the shortened season, he reached that magic number, with 63 career steals now. The rest of his season wasn’t bad, either: he hit safely in all but two contests, including eight multi-hit games, and led the Dons in hits (25) and runs scored (14). 

Elliot Zoellner | BT 2018-19 | RHP | Senior | Maryland

Final line: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11 IP, 16:3 K:BB

Elliot Zoellner’s senior spring came to an end all too early. The right-hander had not surrendered a run in seven relief appearances (spanning 11 innings), allowing just four hits (none for extra bases) while whiffing 16. 

Gio Diaz | BT 2019 | INF | Junior | Saint Mary’s (CA)

Final line: .396/.442/.417, 19 H, 8 R, 3/3 SB/SBA

Fresh off a record-setting 2019 summer with Big Train, Gio Diaz went full-steam ahead into his junior campaign. He hit safely in his first ten games, and reached safely in all but one of his 12 starts. He finished the shortened season leading the Gaels in average (.396), OPS (.859), hits (19) and stolen bases (3).

Stephen Schoch | BT 2016-17 | RHP | Senior | Virginia

Final line: 1-1, 5 SV, 1.62 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 24 K

After setting the UMBC career saves record over his two seasons there, Schoch transferred to Virginia for a graduate season and tallied five more saves in 11 relief outings. He ranked third on the Cavaliers’ staff in innings (16.2) and strikeouts (24). 

Jack Weeks | BT 2019 | LHP | Sophomore | Georgetown

Final line: 1-0, 1.73 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 26 IP, 19 K

Jack Weeks wasted no time establishing himself as the Hoyas’ best pitcher in 2020. He came roaring out of the gate with three straight outings (two starts) without giving up an earned run. He went at least six innings in his final three starts, including a seven-inning, no earned run performance on February 26 and a six-inning, eight-strikeout outing on March 3. He finishes as Georgetown’s 2020 leader in innings (26), opponents’ average among qualifiers (.200), and starts (4). 

Tyler Smith | BT 2017 | RHP | Senior | East Carolina

Final line: 2-1, 1.96 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 19 K

Tyler Smith started his senior season on the mound well, pitching to a sub-2 ERA in his four starts. In his final start March 7 against UNC Charlotte, he struck out seven while allowing just one run in five innings of work. 

Chase Lee | BT 2019 | RHP | Sophomore | Alabama

Final line: 1-0, 1.64 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 2 SV, 11 IP, 19:2 K:BB

Alabama jumped out to a surprising 14-0 start, and finished the campaign 16-1. The Crimson Tide pitching staff (2.24 team ERA) played a huge role in that, and Chase Lee was right in the center of it. He struck out 49 percent of the batters he faced, holding opponents to a .108 average thanks to his killer fastball-slider combination. He ended his season on a high note, going a career-high 5.1 no-hit innings in relief against Lipscomb on March 6, striking out eight in the process.

Brock Guffey | BT 2018 | LHP | Junior | Alabama

Final line: 3-0, 1.04 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 8.2 IP, 13:1 K:BB

Chase Lee’s bullpen mate and fellow Big Train alum Brock Guffey proved to be just as lethal out of the Crimson Tide bullpen. In five outings spanning 8.2 innings, he pitched to a 1.04 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. The southpaw showed his true dominance in a March 1 outing against Harvard, throwing three perfect innings and striking out seven of the nine hitters he faced. 

Dalton Ponce | BT 2019 | RHP | Sophomore | Saint Mary’s (CA)

Final line: 2-1, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 22 IP, 16:2 K:BB

Dalton Ponce kicked off his sophomore campaign as a mainstay in the Gaels’ rotation. Through his four starts, he led the weekend rotation in ERA (2.45) and WHIP (0.91) while striking out 16 and walking just two in his 22 innings of work. He was on a hot streak when the season came to an end, having surrendered just two runs across his last two starts, spanning 12.2 innings. 

Carlos Lomeli | BT 2018 | RHP | Junior | Saint Mary’s (CA)

Final line: 0-3, 3.08 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 26 IP, 21:1 K:BB

Like Ponce, Carlos Lomeli was off to a strong start on the mound for the Gaels, leading the team in innings (26.1) and strikeouts (21) while walking just one batter across his four starts. He went at least six innings in every outing, and at least seven in his final two. While Lomeli didn’t have a full season to boost his draft stock, his strong start and preseason accolades could make him an intriguing pick in this summer’s draft. 

Keith Torres | BT 2019 | INF | Junior | Sacramento State

Final line: .294/.439/.412, 15 H, 12 R, 4 XBH, 11 BB

Count Keith Torres among among the many who are sad the 2020 spring season is over. He was off to his best start in three collegiate seasons, posting a career-high .851 OPS through 16 games. The on-base machine was tied for the Hornets’ lead in walks (11) and one off the pace in runs scored (12) and doubles (3). 

Cade Hunter | BT 2019 | C | Freshman | Virginia Tech

Final line: .310/.444/.483, 3 XBH, 8 RBI, 7 BB

Cade Hunter had the unfortunate luck of being behind Carson Taylor on the depth chart this season, but he certainly made his presence known when his name was called. He drove in eight runs in just 29 at-bats, and walked seven times. He posted a pair of three-hit games as well, and is primed for an even bigger sophomore breakout. 

Jacob Westerman | BT 2018 | OF | Senior | San Francisco

Final line: .343/.396/.577, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Jacob Westerman was in a part-time role to kick off the season, but made the most of his appearances. Had he qualified, he would have led San Francisco in slugging (.577) and OPS (.970). He finished with a hit in the final six games in which he got an at-bat, hitting two doubles and a homer over that span. 

Tyler Naumann | BT 2019 | LHP | Junior | Jacksonville

Final line: 0-0, 0.77 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 17 K The Cal Ripken League’s win leader from a year ago, Tyler Naumann impressed out of the bullpen in his first season with the Dolphins. His 0.77 ERA ranked second among Jacksonville pitchers who threw at least 10 innings, and he held opponents to a .184 batting average in his seven outings. He struck out at least four hitters twice in his final three outings. 

Hunter Cooley | BT 2019 | LHP | Sophomore | Florida Atlantic

Final line: 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 16 IP, 14 K

Hunter Cooley’s strong performance out of Florida Atlantic’s bullpen to open the season earned him two starts, against Miami and Penn, which he made the most of. He threw a combined 11.2 innings in the two starts, striking out nine and allowing just two runs (both in a 6.2 inning performance against the Hurricanes). 

Quinn Flanagan | BT 2018 | RHP | Sophomore | Arizona

Final line: 1-2, 3.32 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 21.2 IP, 23 K

A fixture in the Arizona rotation again, Quinn Flanagan was off to a strong start in 2020, thanks in part due to his opening weekend performance against Albany, in which he struck out 10 hitters across seven scoreless frames. He finished second among Arizona pitchers in innings (21.2) and strikeouts (23). 

Matt Thomas | BT 2019 | C/OF | Sophomore | William & Mary

Final line: .276/.429/.362, 2 3B, 10 RBI, 15 BB, 4/6 SB/SBA

One month into his sophomore campaign, Matt Thomas led the Tribe in walks (15) and boasted a lofty .429 OBP. He was coming into form in the batting average department as well, reaching a season-high .294 after his first career three-hit game on March 7 before settling at .276 when the season was called. He played errorless defense at multiple positions, as well. 

 

Fox Semones | BT 2016-19 | INF/OF | Senior | James Madison

Final line: .250/.426/.519, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 12 R, 7/8 SB/SBA

Yet another Big Train alum who got off to a hot start in 2020, Fox Semones led the Dukes in homers (4) and steals (7) as a senior this spring. He homered in his final game of the season last Wednesday at Maryland. 

Drew Hamrock | BT 2019 | C/INF/OF | Sophomore | Virginia

Final line: .263/.483/.368, 2 2B, 8 R, 7 BB

In limited action this spring, Drew Hamrock showed the Virginia faithful why he was a candidate for the Cal Ripken League Championship Series MVP award last summer. He hit .263 with a pair of doubles in 11 games (three starts), and his seven walks boosted his OBP to a lofty .483 which, if he qualified, would rank second on the Cavaliers. 

John Glenn | BT 2018 | 1B | Senior | California Baptist

Final line: .262/.328/.410, 3 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI

John Glenn led the California Baptist Lancers in RBIs this season with (13), finished second in homers (2) and third in total bases (25). His best performance came February 17 against Pacific, when he went 4-for-6 with a homer and four RBIs. 

Jacob Southern | BT 2018-19 | C | Senior | Jacksonville

Final line: .213/.286/.410, 6 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB

Two-year Big Train backstop Jacob Southern was heating up right before Jacksonville’s season came to a close. He hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games (hitting .277 over that span), and tallied three extra-base hits during the five-game hitting streak he finished the season riding. He finished one back of the team-lead in doubles (6) and stole two bases in as many attempts to boot.

Ryan Okuda | BT 2019 | LHP | Junior | Virginia Tech

Final line: 2-0, 4.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 15.2 IP, 17 K, .203 BAA

One of Big Train’s playoff heroes last summer, Ryan Okuda turned in his best start of his abbreviated junior campaign March 10 against William & Mary. The southpaw allowed just a pair of solo home runs over five innings while striking out a career-high eight batters. 

Ty Madrigal | BT 2017 | RHP | Senior | Saint Mary’s (CA)

Final line: 0-3, 4.43 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 18 K

Back for a redshirt senior season, Ty Madrigal filled the third spot in the all-Big Train Gaels’ weekend rotation. After a rocky first couple starts, he rounded into form in his last two, going at least six innings with two runs or less in each, and striking out eight in one against UC Riverside. 

Tanner Allen | BT 2017 | INF/OF | Junior | Mississippi State

Final line: .240/.387/.400, 2 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 5 BB

Tanner Allen missed a few games early in the season after fouling a ball off his foot, and right when he came back, injured his wrist. After a monster sophomore campaign, Allen didn’t get a chance to get on track before the season came to a close, appearing in just eight of the Bulldogs’ 16 games. He showed his usual on-base prowess, however, posting a .387 OBP, and in his second-to-last game on February 29, he went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs.

Christian Jayne | BT 2019 | OF | Sophomore | East Carolina

Final line: .233/.361/.233, 7 H, 10 R, 5/5 SB/SBA

In limited time this spring, Christian Jayne impressed with the same patience and speed that he showed last summer at Shirley Povich Field. In ECU’s final series against UNC Charlotte, Jayne posted back-to-back multi-hit games for the first time in his young career, scoring five runs in the process. 

Kobe Kato | BT 2019 | C/INF | Sophomore | Arizona

Final line: .333/.500/.333, 2 H, 1 RBI, 2/2 SB/SBA

Kobe Kato, the 2019 Cal Ripken League MVP, saw limited action this spring for the Wildcat but when he played, showed the strong contact ability and plate discipline that he demonstrated last summer in Bethesda. 

Ryan Metz | BT 2018-19 | RHP | Junior | Virginia Tech

Final line: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 3 IP, 2 K

Ryan Metz made it into just two games this spring, both out of the bullpen, but didn’t allow any extra-base hits or walks in either appearance. 

Darius Foster | BT 2019 | OF | Sophomore | San Francisco

Final line: .200/.346/.450, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Like many others on this list, Darius Foster was just getting into the swing of things when his season abruptly ended. He launched his first homer as a Don -- a three-run shot -- in his penultimate game on March 8, and followed with a double and two runs scored in his final contest. 

Michael Bechtold | BT 2019 | RHP | Junior | James Madison

Final line: 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 15 IP, 12 K

Michael Bechtold struggled out of the gate, but had found his groove on the mound of late. In his final three appearances (all in relief), he went 10.1 total innings, allowing just two runs and striking out nine. 

Jacob McCarvel | BT 2018-19 | RHP | Junior | California Baptist

Final line: 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 14 IP, 16 K

Jacob McCarvel made seven appearances for the Lancers, including one start, striking out 16 in 14 innings of work. 

Nathan Schneider | BT 2019 | RHP | Junior | Saint Mary’s (CA)

Final line: 0-0, 7.27 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 12 K

In seven appearances for the Gaels, Schneider posted a 13.17 K/9. 

AJ Jones | BT 2017 | RHP | Senior | Jacksonville

Final line: 1-1, 5.64 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 22.1 IP, 16 K

AJ Jones made four starts for the Dolphins this spring, finishing third on the team in innings (22.1).

Logan Barker | BT 2019 | RHP | Junior | Liberty

Final line: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 2.2 IP, 1 K

Logan Barker made two appearances out of the Liberty bullpen this year, giving up just a lone double across the pair of outings. 

Kris Kremer | BT 2019 | INF/OF | Junior | Penn State

Final line: .364/.417/.455, 2B

Kremer only appeared in four games this spring, but made his presence known, hitting safely in all three contests that he started. 

Jimmy Monaghan | BT 2016 | 1B | Senior | Salisbury

Final line: .250/.355/.500, 3 2B, HR, 8 RBI

Jimmy Monaghan had a strong finish to his collegiate career, finishing second on Salisbury in doubles (3), and walking (5) more times than he struck out (3). 

Gaby Cruz | BT 2017 | C | Senior | Bryant

Final line: .170/.241/.358, 3 HR, 9 RBI

Gaby Cruz’s senior season came to a close before his bat heated up, but even in the first month, he led Bryant in homers (3) and ranked second in RBIs (9).

Jarret Krzyzanowski | BT 2018 | RHP | Junior | Nova Southeastern

Final line: 0-1, 4.42 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 21 K

Jarret Krzyzanowski emerged as a go-to guy in the Nova Southeastern bullpen. He ranked third among Sharks pitchers in innings (18.1) and second in strikeouts (21) despite only appearing in relief. 

Bryan Diaz | BT 2018 | OF | Junior | Nova Southeastern

Final line: .216/.356/.297, HR, 6 R, 4/4 SB/SBA

Bryan Diaz appeared in half of Nova Southeastern’s contests, and was heating up before missing all of the last month. He hit a two-run homer -- his first of the year -- in his penultimate game against Palm Beach Atlantic on February 18.



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