Photo by Alex D'Addese

Mustangs sweep doubleheader from Rams

By Jamison Schulz-Franco

AJAX, Ont. - It was a windy, brisk day at the Ajax Sportsplex on Sunday. The cold weather, missed opportunities and defensive lapses made for a forgettable day, as the Ryerson Rams were swept by the Western Mustangs.

Game One: Western Mustangs 8 - Ryerson Rams 1
The Rams had an unlucky break to open day two of the regular season. In the top of the first a questionable call on a line drive resulted in a rare triple play. Phil Seguin and Andrew Ciuffreda led off the inning with a pair of singles, then rookie Mitch Fiacco lined one to the feet of Mustangs first baseman Jeff Martin. The umpire’s call was the player caught line drive, and Martin was able to take advantage of confused Rams base runners.

The Rams veteran starting pitcher, Kevin MacDonald, pitched a strong 6.2 innings allowing only three earned runs. He kept the tough Mustang lineup in check and gave his team an opportunity to win this game. MacDonald has had success against Western in the past, but he says he approaches every game with the same mentality he has over his five-year OUA career. “I just treated it as another start, every team I face I am going to face guys that can hit,” MacDonald said. “I just try to keep my boys in it as long as I can.” Despite his efforts, the Rams defense made three errors and other defensive miscues that the Mustangs took advantage of to blow the game wide open.

On the offensive side, the Rams missed a couple key opportunities early. Besides lining  into a triple play, they had the bases loaded with none out in the 3rd and didn’t score. A baserunning mistake ran them out of another inning, and Fiacco was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the 6th.  In spite of the lack of “clutch hitting” by the Rams, they produced well with the bat, getting a total of 14 hits off Mustang pitching. Ryerson assistant coach Sasha Gerster was pleased with the Rams batting efforts on the day, and told the team that they were doing all the right things. “You keep the same plate approaches, we’re hitting the baseball and we’re putting runners on.”

The disciplined offense that is the Western Mustangs, produced a total of eight runs. Leading the way was Mustangs center fielder Harry Weisdorf with 2 runs scored in the game. Alongside him, the Mustangs completed in a full team effort besting the Rams 8-1.

Game 2: Western Mustangs 4 - Ryerson Rams 1
In  game two, the Ryerson Rams started the game very similar to how they played game one, with two errors in the top of the first. One was due to a miscommunication that saw Mustangs DH Jeff Martin advance from first base all the way home, on an attempted caught stealing. Western took a 2-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Rams middle of the order loaded the bases for rookie Tyler Hopper. He hit what looked like a run scoring single to left, however, Mustangs third baseman, Jordan Camara made an excellent play to end the inning.

The Mustangs added a run in the third to take a comfortable 3-0 lead and continued to make impressive defensive plays. Camara again made another gold glove play when he made a diving stop and snipe to first base to retire Rams centre fielder Ciuffreda. That play also keep the Rams of the scoreboard.

On the pitching side the Rams continued to be effective. A strong relief effort from Ryerson rookie Fiacco saw him impress in his first OUA pitching performance. Although Fiacco was happy with his outing, he noted a few things he wants to improve on.

“It felt good,” remarked Fiacco, “my fastball was commanding pretty well today, although my curve wasn’t snapping down as good as I would’ve liked to.”

Following Fiacco was another fellow rookie Max Dieks. He pitched well in his second appearance this season going 2.2 innings.  He led all pitchers with three strikeouts in game two.

The teams traded runs in the seventh. In the top of the the inning, the Mustangs right fielder, Will Pollard, singled in a run to make it 4-0 Western. In the bottom of the inning, a late rally attempt fell short for the Rams,  as they were retired with the tying run on deck. Western won game two by a score of 4-1.

Up Next: Ryerson Rams head on the road to Kingston, Ontario on September 15th. They will  be facing the Queen’s Gaels at Megaffin Park. First pitch at 12:00 pm.

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