TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams rode an excellent complete game start from Jeremias Sucre to secure a series split against a deep and talented Guelph Gryphons lineup on Sunday. After losing the first game 11-3 the Rams were able to bounce back and play their best all round game winning 3-1 in the finale.
Game One: Guelph 11 - Ryerson 3
Through six innings it was a pitcher’s duel between starters Gryphons Mitchell Over and Rams right-handed veteran Caleb King. However, the powerful Guelph offence erupted for nine runs over the last three innings to defeat the Rams 11-3.
King was dominant over six innings staying ahead of the hitters, mixing his pitches and only allowing three hits and one earned run. “I was throwing strikes and got ahead of guys, and had some really good command” said King, “executing fastball command and location was good”
Head coach Ben Rich was pleased with King’s performance and felt his ability to make adjustments showed signs of maturity as a pitcher.
“Outstanding performance, he came out there attacking hitters,” said Rich. “What I liked the most was he was making adjustments mid at bats. If he missed with a pitch he thought about what he needed to do to make a better pitch for the next one.”
In the seventh inning Guelph faced King for the third time. They started the inning off with a bunt hit and then four well placed hits later King was removed from the game. Guelph has one of the deepest and most powerful lineups in the OUA, and they took advantage of opportunities to score seven in the inning.
“A leadoff bunt which was a perfect bunt, from there a guy on first and things got away from me a little bit,” said King.
Guelph would score two more runs off the young Rams bullpen to cement the win. It was an OUA debut of left-handed pitcher Matt MacDowell, who went two innings allowing one earned run.
After the game MacDowell was generally pleased with his first outing. “It was really good, I felt my control was better than my exhibition games” said MacDowell. “I was throwing more strikes, trust with my stuff and a better curveball.”
The Rams offense was only able to to get one hit off of the Guelph starter Over. Saturday’s offensive star, Jared Armstrong, singled in the fifth and subsequently stole second and third before scoring on a ground out by rookie Sam Munro. Ryerson didn’t fare much better off the Guelph bullpen and only scored two in the eighth off a single by Kyle Conquer.
Game Two: Ryerson 3 – Guelph 1
After a one-year absence, Jeremias Sucre returned to the mound for Ryerson. He made a huge statement throwing the Rams first complete game of the season. Sucre pitched seven innings only allowing one run on five hits, two walks and recorded seven strikeouts. He was dominant from the first pitch of the game.
“To throw a complete game against a potent lineup like that, filling the zone the whole time…speechless…perfect” said Rich.
Sucre attributed his success against the Guelph lineup to the location of his fastball. He was able to keep it down and avoided the hitting zone, as well as took advantage of the defence behind him.
“I was able to keep my fastball at the knees not trying to throw it up where they can hit is easily”, said Sucre, “my defence made the plays which was very helpful as well.”
Sucre helped himself with his own defensive play. The two- way player plays third base for the Rams when he is not pitching. Sucre’s infield skills were evident when he retired the lead off hitter in the top of the seventh. Gryphon’s Tyler Randa laid down an excellent bunt and Sucre immediately jumped off the mound and made an off balanced throw to just beat him to first.
Ryerson’s offense took advantage of the limited scoring opportunities against solid Guelph pitching. First baseman Pete Apostolopoulos was the hitting star driving in two of the three Rams runs. Apostolopoulos has battled forearm issues and it has limited him to hitting duties only. However, his condition continues to improve and he may start throwing next week.
“I felt a lot better as the games have been going on” said Apostolopoulos . “I think my performance is getting better and I am working things out with my swing.”
In the bottom of the sixth, the Rams took advantage of a tiring Gryphons pitcher Peter Zytner. Outfielder Jason Te hammered a lead off double and eventually scored what would be the winning run.
“It was real late in the game you could tell he (Zytner) was really tired and his fastball was slowing down a bit,” said Te “so I was sitting on the fastball and luckily he threw one over the plate.”
Ryerson’s next doubleheader will be this Saturday, September 16 against Queen's in Kingston. First pitch at 12 pm.