James Outman (Sacramento State)
Following a five-game road trip, the Bethesda Big Train return home to face the rival Baltimore Redbirds in the first game of a three-day home stand Saturday night.
The Big Train (13-4) concluded their tour across the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League with a 7-3 win over the D.C. Grays Friday and have now won seven of their last 10. This past week also saw the Big Train get to one game back of the Alexandria Aces in the South division.
The road trip has sparked an offensive renaissance of sorts for the Big Train. Jacob Koos (Stetson), who began the season as the leadoff man before being dropped in the lineup due to struggles at the plate, enters the game on a six-game hit streak, including three multi-hit games.
James Outman (Sacramento State) continued his early bid for CRCBL MVP this week after going 14-for-27 over the course of the trip. Outman alsohit two homers Friday against the Grays. He currently holds the league leads for batting average (.456), home runs (7) and RBIs (24) entering Saturday’s contest.
“We got a really good group of guys offensively,” Outman said after Friday’s win. “We kind of rake.”
The pitching staff has also shored up over the course of the road trip. Manager Sal Colangelo has seen his pitching staff pick up a number of strong outings the last few days including a five-inning, three hit, five-strikeout performance by Ty Madrigal (St. Mary’s) against Alexandria Thursday.
John Murphy (Maryland) is the projected starter Saturday night against the Redbirds. In his last outing against the Riverdogs Murphy went four innings, giving up one run on four hits along with five strikeouts.
“They’ve just been pitching,” assistant coach Tyler McKee said after the win over D.C. “They’ve been learning how to pitch. They've been trained. They know what to do now. They’re getting better.”
The Redbirds come to Bethesda on the heels of a solid stretch. They enter Saturday having gone 7-3 in their last 10 games but have won three of their past four.
In their first matchup of the season, a 5-4 win for Bethesda, the night was highlighted by a stellar relief job by Nash Eppard (Bryant), Cam Vassar (James Madison) and Stephen Schoch (UMBC). The trio pitched a combined five innings of one-run ball. Schoch closed the final two innings by striking out the side in both frames.
First pitch at Shirley Povich Field is scheduled for 7 p.m.