Rams bounces back to earn split with Queen's
KINGSTON, Ont. - Saturday saw two extremes in performance by the Ryerson Rams baseball team. In the opener, the team struggled in almost all facets of the game, while in the finale they showcased how they can dominate an opposing team.
Game 1: Queen's 11, Ryerson 0 (8 innings)
A couple of bad pitches, wildness and some poor defence allowed Queen's to ride two big innings to victory. On the mound for the Gaels, Jordan Herbison, dominated the Rams lineup. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 16.
Leading 1-0 to start the bottom of third, Queen’s hitters started to get to Rams veteran starter Kevin MacDonald. A couple of singles and an uncharacteristic walk by MacDonald loaded the bases to open the inning.
The next batter, outfielder Kail Beloglowka, hit what appeared to be a tailor made double play. But Rams shortstop, Phil Seguin, had trouble getting the ball out of his glove resulting in an error. A single, error, single would follow, chasing MacDonald from the game. When the inning was over, it would be 6-0 Queen's.
That is all Herbison would need, as he held the Rams to eight base runners over seven innings, while striking out nine.
The Queen’s offence would be contained in the middle innings, only scoring one run over four innings. But mistakes by Ryerson's defence in the eighth, combined with home runs by Matt Plut and Austin O’Boyle sealed the victory for the Gaels.
One bright spot for the Rams was the performance by rookie reliever Logan Kerry. In his second appearance this season, he pitched four innings allowing one run on four hits with a strikeout.
Game 2: Ryerson 10, Queens 5
Three impressive offensive performances and incredible work by the bullpen allowed the Rams to bounce back in game two, splitting the series with Queen's.
Outfielder Andrew Ciuffreda ignited the Rams offence in the first. He singled and would eventually come around to score. This seemed to fire up the Ryerson bench.
“It gets people to get up and right into it and into that game right away,” said Ciuffreda about scoring first. “Get hyped up in the moment and I think that is something to thrive off of in the game.”
Ciuffreda went three for five with two runs scored in game two.
However, in the bottom of the first Queen's would get three runs off of Rams starter, Jeremias Sucre, to take the lead. But in the top of the third Ryerson third baseman, RJ Mienkowski, with a runner on would tie the game with one swing.
“It was a 1-2 count. After missing with the curveball, with the runner on second base I was looking for a fastball away,” said Mienkowski about his game tying home run. “But it was middle in and I was able to hit it.”
Mienkowski collected two hits in four at bats with two runs batted in. He would also make a couple incredible plays in the field.
In the top of the fourth, the Rams would take advantage of an error and walks to score two. With a new pitcher in, Rams first baseman, Aidan Dolan, would greet him with a two-run double to give Ryerson a 7-3 lead. When asked after the game what he was looking for, Dolan said, “first pitch fastball and I got it.”
Dolan drove in three runs and had three hits in the second game.
Queen's added two runs in the bottom of the fourth and narrowed the Rams lead. With one out Ryerson coach, Jon Rubin, decided to hand the ball to the team’s deep and effective bullpen. Rookies Jack Little and Justin Skonkus would combine to throw 3.2 innings allowing no runs, on two hits, one walk and one strikeout.
“MacDonald and Sugar (Sucre) have thrown a lot of big innings for this club and this program. Today wasn’t their day,” said Rubin. “It was great to see guys respond and pick them up and come in different scenarios.”
The Rams would add three more in the sixth and win easily 10-5.
When asked about his team’s ability to bounce back and win game two, Rubin said, “guys showed a lot of character bouncing back after a bit of a tough first game. That is what we expect of the team. Really proud of they way they responded.”