Rookies off to promising start in doubleheader split
AJAX, Ont. - Another season of OUA baseball is off and running as the new-look Ryerson Rams took on the Guelph Gryphons at Pan Am Park in Ajax. The Rams may have 14 new players this season, but the chemistry the players have already developed with one another is already going a long way. “[Team chemistry] is something I’ve preached to every team that I’ve had since the beginning of this program,” head coach Ben Rich said of his team. “Team chemistry goes a long way for your on-field performance”.
Game One: Guelph 8 - Ryerson 2
The Rams struggled in game one, however, as they were shut down by the Gryphons’ pitching staff. Guelph started their season with left hander Mitch Over and he was throwing strikes from the first pitch. He wasn’t overpowering the Ryerson hitters as he only recorded two strikeouts, but he was inducing soft contact from Ryerson hitters throughout the lineup. The Rams were only able to score two unearned runs off the lefty, which came from throwing errors by over in the third inning.
The Rams countered with Jeremias Sucre, or as all of his teammates call him, “Sugar”. The big right hander struggled with his command, walking four and hitting a batter during the game. “I felt good but I just wasn’t hitting my spots, especially against left handed batters,” said Sucre.
The Gryphons scored all of their runs in pairs with two in the second inning to take an early lead, and another two to reclaim that lead right after the Rams had tied the game the previous inning. Things began to unravel in the sixth as Sucre was pulled from the game after Guelph’s lead was stretched to 6-2. The final pair of Guelph runs came off of reliever Jack Little, who was making his OUA debut. One was a result of an error and extended the team’s lead to 8-2 in the seventh.
In a sloppy game full of errors and mental mistakes, one bright spot for the Rams was rookie relief pitcher Logan Kerry. He pitched two scoreless innings in his OUA debut giving up just one hit. After the game, Kerry said playing for the Rams is “a dream” as his father worked at the university while he was growing up.
The Rams tried to stage a comeback in the late innings, but were shut down by Guelph’s right-hander Hayden Adair, who recorded a three inning save in the 8-2 Gryphons win.
Player of the Game: Guelph’s second baseman, Rob Wolfer provided the Gryphons with a spark out of the leadoff spot. He went 3-4 with a sac fly and four RBIs as he led the way for Guelph.
Game Two: Ryerson 11 - Guelph 3
Game two was a much different story for the Rams. They started the game with three straight singles to load the bases against Gryphons righty, Jordon Inkol. The next batter was Anthony Fera who ripped a double to score two runs. Next up was rookie Matt Tohana who ripped his first OUA hit into centre field to score another two Ryerson runs.
A few batters later, with two outs, another player making his OUA debut hit a two-run single. It was first year sport media student, Spencer Snow. He was seeing the ball well today. In his second at bat, he drove in two runs with a triple to extend the Rams lead to 8-1. When asked about today’s success at the plate, Snow said: “I made a couple of adjustments to my swing and that really helped out today.”
With a six run first inning lead, Ryerson starter, Kevin Lucas, was able to relax on the mound and pitch his game. “With good offense starting out the game I was able to have that comfortable lead” said a smiling Lucas after the game. Though not a rookie, Lucas made his Ryerson debut today after transferring from another school. He turned in a solid performance going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits.
Rookie Max Dieks closed the door in the seventh inning with two strikeouts, as the Rams beat the Gryphons 11-3 to split their doubleheader.
Player of the Game: Spencer Snow have a night! In his first OUA game, Snow went 2-3 with a walk and four RBIs. He helped lead the charge of new Rams on opening day.
What’s Next?: The Rams play another doubleheader Sunday September 9th, against the Western Mustangs. First Pitch is 12:00pm at Pan-Am Park, in Ajax.