KINGSTON, Ont. - The old adage in baseball is “pitching and defense wins you games”; on Saturday that was exemplified in the road series split between the Ryerson Rams and Queen’s Gaels. The Rams won game one riding an exceptional pitching performance, while in game two a couple of ill timed errors and pitching wildness led to a lopsided defeat.
John Rubin, the interim coach, discussed after the games that the little things the team did so well in game one were lacking in game two. He was referring to making the plays on the field and pitchers coming into the game attacking the hitters.
Staff ace Quinn Cumming dominated on the mound and rookie Anthony Fera led an offensive attack to down Queen’s in the opener, 6-3. This was Ryerson’s best game of the early season. They played their most complete game and were fundamentally sound.
Cumming dominated Queen’s from the beginning of the game. He attacked the zone with his four seam fastball and stay ahead in the count for most batters.
“He was more aggressive with his four seam fastball,” said Rubin, “getting ahead with it and establish it and make the other team respect his fastball. That set up all his other pitches.” Cumming was able to use his other pitches later in the game to retire batters seeing him for the third or fourth time.
“It was definitely the fastball, I was attacking good with the fastball and they were behind it for the most part and then using the off-speed” said Cumming on his eight inning masterpiece.
The Rams were able to take advantage of opportunities when Queen’s starter Jordan Herbison left the fastball up to hitters. Rookie Anthony Fera, a late addition to the lineup, had his best OUA game in his young career getting four hits, driving in two runs and hitting the first Rams homerun of the season.
Fera had a good batting practice prior to the game and liked what Herbison had to offer. “He was throwing it inside, that is where I like it and I was able to turn on him” said Fera. With regard to the homerun, Fera knew what pitch to expect. “I knew he was going to come fastball inside and I hit it” said Fera.
Jeremias Sucre finished the game for his first save of the season, he also had three hits as part of the Rams 12 hit attack.
In the finale, Ryerson starter Kevin MacDonald was unable to go past the third and Queen’s would have an eight run inning off the beleaguered Rams bullpen to coast to a 14-4 win.
MacDonald had two quick innings to open the game, but got into to trouble in the third giving up three runs on four hits. A true competitor, the veteran Ram was visibly frustrated by his performance and early exit from the game.
The Rams young and inexperienced bullpen was no match for the Queen’s lineup that took advantage of two fielding errors and seven walks. The Gaels would have six hits, and score 10 runs over two innings off the Ryerson bullpen. The biggest blow was a bases loaded double by Queen’s third baseman, Austin Doyle, who had four hits and four RBI in game two.
Rubin acknowledged the challenges for new pitchers learning to pitch out of the bullpen. Coming into situations with runners on or in high leverage opportunities, he noted they do not have the luxury take time to find their rhythm
“You live and die on your ability to throw strikes in this league” said Rubin. “Relievers have a tough job and need to really develop some mental toughness and come into the game late being aggressive in the strike zone.”
Offensively, the Rams scored two quick runs in the first from singles by RJ Mienkowski and Aidan Dolan. In the fifth it was this combination again, as Mienkowski hit a hard double to left field which was followed by a towering homerun by Dolan the rookie first baseman.
Ryerson will head to Waterloo Sunday for a doubleheader against the Waterloo Warriors. First pitch 12:00 pm at Jack Couch Park