Baseball player Ryan Jordan Santana came out publicly on live television Monday night, sharing the truth about his sexual orientation with his mother and teammates for the first time. The dramatic coming-out was part of TLC’s series This Is Life Live.

He played college baseball at Azusa Pacific Univ. in Southern California. He closed out his final year at APU winning PacWest Conference Player of the Week honors. Prior to that he played for St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Pheonix, Ariz. During his junior year in high school he hit .449.

Interestingly, both of those schools have strong ties to the church. Azusa Pacific has a school policy barring gay sex.

Santana told Outsports that playing at Azusa Pacific “was a tough spot for me because I do believe in God. It was challenging time for sure.”

Santana currently plays for the Golden Grove Dodgers in Adelaide, Australia.

He said he first realized he was attracted to men around the age of 15 but felt he couldn’t tell anyone.

“I lived a lie my whole life. I was always too afraid to even tell my teammates. But I don’t want to have to lie to them about this part of me anymore.”

The show’s host asked Santana one of the million-dollar questions: why come out to your family on national television?

“I feel like I struggled with it, and I know there are others struggling with their sexuality as well,” Santana said. “And I feel like I don’t want them to feel alone or by themselves. And i want to let them know they are not alone. I want to be some kind of outlet, a light.”

He said he was unable to say the words “I’m gay” out loud just 10 months ago.

Part of that has been his participation in sports. He felt, like so many other gay athletes, that being gay and coming out would end his participation in sports. Add to that living and playing in Australia, where same-sex marriage is still illegal, and previously playing for two Christian schools, and his apprehension was high.

“I always felt…I couldn’t come out and play baseball. I thought as soon as I came out, I’m done playing baseball. But it shouldn’t be that way. They should be able to know that and judge me off of my athletic ability. If I’m a good baseball player if i’m a good teammate.”

When he came out to two of his teammates in a recorded meeting, one of his teammates said before the big reveal that something was “so f******* gay.”

When he finally told his two teammates, the one who made the gay crack quickly embraced him, literally, and said they’d be mates for life. His other teammate and roommate broke down in tears about the pain Santana must have been feeling.

“It doesn’t change anything between our friendship,” Santana’s roommate said.

Chalk another one up for the athletes.

When it finally came time to come out to his mom, he struggled through tears to share it with her. She took it great and comforted him.

“I’m accepting of anything and everything with you boys,” she said. “You’re still you.”

Chalk another one up for the moms.

“I want to live my life authentically,” Santana told Outsports. “Everyone should be able to. It is important now because I’m at a time in my life where I’m thinking about family and career. I feel like now is a good time and I hope to inspire others to tell their stories.”

This is Life Live continues Tuesday and Wednesday this week on TLC at 10pmET.