Big Train Blank Braves, 16-0, for First Shutout of Season
After a 15-3 victory Monday night, the Big Train took down the Braves for the second time in as many games on Tuesday, this time shutting them out 16–0 in seven innings.
Similar to the previous two games, the Big Train kicked off the scoring in the first inning, as Kemp Alderman (Ole Miss) continued his scorching hot start to the summer season with a two RBI single, scoring Darius Foster (San Francisco) and Rocco Peppi (Long Beach State). Later in the inning, Alderman scored on a passed ball to make it 3–0 Big Train.
The next inning, Foster scored from third on a throwing error to make it 4–0 Big Train. In the top of the third, with the bases loaded and only one out, Matt Bedford (Notre Dame) struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam and keep the Braves scoreless. He finished the night with four shutout frames and five strikeouts in his first regular season start of the summer.
In the bottom of the fourth, after getting on first via a single, Foster scored all the way from first on an RBI double by Matt Thomas (William & Mary) to make it 5–0 Big Train. Thomas would then score on an infield single by Alderman.
In the bottom of the fifth, after walking and advancing to third on a double by Trevor Doyle (Sacramento State), Keith Torres (Sacramento State) scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Gauthier (Maryland). A few moments later, Doyle came across on a South County throwing error , making it 8–0 Big Train.
In the bottom of the sixth, Peppi and Nolan Schanuel (Florida Atlantic) each scored on fielding errors by the Braves. After a couple of walks scored two runs, Peppi ripped a base clearing double to balloon the advantage to 15-0. Alderman drove him home on a single, making it 16–0.
In the top of the seventh, the Braves failed to score enough runs to keep the game going. For the second consecutive game, the Big Train ended the game by the Cal Ripken League mercy rule before the ninth inning.
In his second start of the season, Alderman continued his hot hitting, going 3-5 with four RBIs. It was a stellar follow-up to his fantastic performance against the Braves on Monday that included an absolute moonshot in the 15–3 blowout.
“I knew it was gone,” Alderman said of his Monday homer. “The two pitches he threw me prior were curveballs out of the zone, and I just took a two strike approach and just saw it up and hit it.”
As for Tuesday's performance, Alderman mentioned a few things he’s trying to work on this summer that aided his solid hitting outing against the Braves.
“I was just trying to stay short on the ball and stick to my approach,” Alderman said. “I’m adding a little hitch in my swing, and I’m just trying to slow it down, recognize pitches and lay off the curveballs in the dirt.”
As for the rest of the lineup, Foster went 3-for-4 with three runs and Peppi went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs and three runs. It was yet another dominant offensive performance by the Big Train, as all nine starters reached base at least once. In the past 14 innings, the Big Train outscored the Braves 31–3 in what was a one-sided home-and-home series.
Following up Bedford's stellar performance, relievers Matt Howat (William & Mary) and Jack Cone (William & Mary) allowed a combined two hits and zero earned runs in three innings of relief.
The Big Train are back in action on the road Wednesday against the T-Bolts at 6 p.m., where they will first conclude their contest from last Tuesday that was suspended due to rain; the game will resume in the top of the tenth with the Big Train batting since they were the road team last Tuesday. Their regularly scheduled game is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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