WILSON, N.C. - The USA Collegiate National Team arrived at historic Stadium Fleming around 3:30 and it only took them a couple of hours to make Fleming their home as by the end of the night, they took out the Tobs 14-2 on Hubert Vester Chevrolet, Chuck Finklea State Farm, RA Jeffries, Holiday Inn Express, and Olive Garden night.
Braden Bristo made the start for the Wilson Tobs, but Mark Mathias, who went 3-for-6 on the night with three runs scored and two stolen bases, greeted him rudely by singling and promptly stealing second base. After a lineout from Christin Stewart, DJ Stewart walked and Alex Bregman doubled down the left field line to drive home a run and Nick Banks came to the pate and singled home both runners to give Team USA a 3-0 lead.
They would come right back in the second and add another when Taylor Ward walked and moved to third two batters later on a single by Christin Stewart to put runners on first and third with one out. DJ Stewart took the second pitch of his at bat and grounded to second to pump the Team USA advantage to four.
But the Tobs would cut right into the deficit with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Taylor Nichols, who was dealing with a lower body injury, singled to left center and moved up to second on a past ball. Ben Schmucker then doubled into the right centerfield gap off of Team USA starter Trey Killian, but because of the lower body injury, Nichols had to stop at third base. Matt Rubino though drove Nichols home with a fielder’s choice grounder to short where Bregman tried to get Schmucker advancing to third, but Schmucker slid under the tag to put Tobs on first and third with nobody out. However, Killian would get a pop out and a strikeout before Rubino was caught stealing to end the Tobs threat.
It took a couple of innings, but Team USA would get the run back, this time off of Tobs’ reliever Mikel Belcher, and do so in a big way. Belcher, who pitched well for the Tobs, had just one mistake and Christin Stewart made him pay by driving a line drive just over the wall in right for a two run shot. The ball was originally ruled a double, but after Field Umpire Tim Towe conferred with Plate Umpire Clayton Simmons, the two decided to reverse the decision. Belcher eventually pitched three innings for the Tobs, allowing just the two runs on the Stewart home run while striking out three. The two run home run put Team USA up 6-1.
The game remained relatively close until the sixth when Team USA scored four runs. John Allen was unable to get the only two lefties he faced despite the ball never leaving the infield and Dillon Frye was called to get out of the inning and he appeared on his way there, but Blake Trahan singled home a run before Ryan Boldt tripled into the left centerfield gap, driving the lead to 9-1. Team USA would make it 10-1 on Kevin Newman’s RBI single in the next at bat.
The Tobs scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth thanks to the speed of Adam Pate. He began the inning with a single to right center and proceeded to steal both second and third off of Bailey Ober. Ober almost managed to strand Pate at third base, but Seth LaRue continued to swing the bat well and with two outs singled down the right field line to push the Tobs’ second run of the game across the plate, making it 10-2.
Team USA added one in the seventh on an RBI double by DJ Stewart and scored three more in the ninth inning. Nick Banks knocked home a run in the ninth to give him three RBI on the night and Trahan joined him with three RBI by driving home two in the next at bat.
Not only was Chris Williams the only pitcher for the Tobs to not allow a run, but he did so in style; Williams pitched the eighth inning for the Tobs and the Redshirt-sophomore from NC State retired the side in order, striking out Taylor Ward to finish off the frame. Taylor Nichols also performed well for the Tobs in front of an extensive number of scouts, going 2-for-4 on the night with a double, despite being hampered by the lower leg injury.
The Tobs head off on the road for three straight games: first against the Wilmington Sharks, then the Morehead City Marlins before ending the week in Edenton. The boys will take Sunday off and start the week by hosting the Edenton Steamers on Monday for Edward Jones’ Bang for Your Buck 1$ Night where hot dogs, snocones, popcorn and select draft beer will all be just $1.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 22nd season in 2018, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 111 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.