TORONTO – The Ryerson Rams home opener sweep at the hands of the visiting McMaster Marauders was not how the team hoped to open the new season. McMaster combined excellent pitching and offensive performances to take advantage of missed opportunities and inconsistent Ryerson play to leave Stan Wadlow Park with two wins.
McMaster 10 – Ryerson 0
In the opener the Marauders rode an excellent start by right-hander Julian Tymochko, 5.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs and 6 strike outs, to shutout Ryerson 10-0. Rams ace Quinn Cumming struggled early in his first start of the season. He allowed fours runs in the first two innings and pitching coach Jon Rubin indicated after the game he told Cumming to attack the hitters with his fastball. “Cumming is good enough to pitch in the middle of the plate” said Rubin, “and he needed to have a simple approach and try to not come out too cute. Just attack the hitters.”
Cumming listened to his pitching coach and dominated in the middle innings retiring 11 in a row before running out of steam in the sixth, surrendering two more runs. “He needs to build up his stamina and arm strength to go through the lineup multiple times and throw 100 pitches” said Rubin. Cumming was a closer during the summer and presently has only been stretched out to 80-85 pitches.
He might have lasted longer in the game had errors and misplays behind him not helped to elevate his pitch count. Luke Bellus, who followed Cumming, pitched a clean seventh but was tagged for four runs in the eighth. However, that inning would have played differently had a ball to the outfield not been lost by the fielder. Head coach Ben Rich referenced the defence after the game “Our defense has to tighten up. There are the obvious errors that everyone saw and then the plays that if we are going to win ballgames we got to make more of them” said Rich.
Bellus took his responsibility for that inning and said he needed to pitch better. “I had a batter down 0-2 and I left the pitch up and he hit it” said Bellus.
The offense was unable to muster anything against the Marauders pitchers Tymochko and left-hander Nikolas Motruk, who combined for the shutout. The Rams had an opportunity in the third, but both players Chris Aubin and Jesse Fishbaum were picked off first. Also in the sixth with the bases loaded and none out they were unable to cash any of the runners in to score.
McMaster 12 – Ryerson 7
Game two was a battle that saw both teams relinquish multi-run leads, but it was the Marauders that were able to persevere and win by the final the score 12-7.
Fourth year Sport Media student, Kevin MacDonald, gritted through four innings only surrendering three two out runs in the third. MacDonald said after the game that he was happy with his performance. “I got ahead of pretty much every hitter, when I needed to I bounced back when I made some bad pitches” said MacDonald.
What was more encouraging was how his shoulder felt after the start. “I feel really good, I felt I could have gone longer” said MacDonald. Last season MacDonald battled shoulder issues and it is important for the 2017 Rams to have him healthy.
MacDonald left the game with a 7-3 lead but the inexperienced bullpen surrendered nine unanswered runs over three innings which lead to the Rams loss. Most of the damage was done by last year’s rookie of the year, McMaster shortstop Lucas DaSilva. He went three for five with three runs scored.
“On the whole pitchers did a very solid job,” said Rich, “but we got to finish off those innings. We would get one or two outs and then let them get back in on the inning, let a runner on and give up a hit – credit to Mac they came out swinging.”
The Rams scored seven runs in the third inning to take the lead. That was in large part due to the bat of veteran centre fielder Jared Armstrong. He led off the inning with a triple and then had a bases clearing double to give the Rams their largest lead of the game 7-3.
“I had an idea hitting in the seventh spot had an idea of what I was going to see” said Armstrong, “when you know what pitch you are going to swing at you are already ahead of the game.”
Armstrong stressed the importance of the team needing to score more often and take advantage of opportunities in other situations. The Rams scored all of their runs in the double header in the seven run third of game two. Also were only able to muster one hit with runners in scoring position for both games, the double by Armstrong.
Rams will be back at it on Sunday at 12 pm at Stan Wadlow Park hosting the Guelph Gryphons.