Rams finish sweep of Voyageurs with thrilling comeback
TORONTO - Facing the winless Laurentian Voyageurs under the cloudy skies of Stan Wadlow park, the Ryerson Rams snapped their six-game losing streak and completed their first sweep of the season in dramatic fashion.
Game 1 - Ryerson 13, Laurentian 12
In the opening game, the Rams avoided surrendering a nine-run lead, narrowly edging out the Voyageurs in a 13-12 shootout.
Solid at-bats early by Ryerson mixed with some sloppy Laurentian defense allowed the Rams to jump ahead 8-0 after three innings. Laurentian committed six errors in the game, five of them coming in the first three frames.
The Rams continued to build on their lead, adding runs in the fifth and sixth inning before seemingly putting the game away with a three-run eighth inning.
“We made them make plays, and when you do that in this league you give yourself a chance to put baserunners on and we were able to get some runs across early,” coach Jon Rubin explained.
Laurentian seemed to employ the same strategy later in the game. After Rams starter Kevin Lucas handed in his impressive four inning performance (1 R on 1 H, 5 K’s, 2 BB), the Voyageurs were able to get to the bullpen for three runs on two Rams errors in the sixth. They went into their final at-bat trailing 13-4.
Nine singles and two more errors later, the Rams found themselves only one run ahead of the Voyageurs. “We took our foot off the gas and made a couple defensive misplays and that let Laurentian get into the ballgame again,” highlights Rubin, “it put our bullpen in a position where they had to throw more pitches and get more outs than they needed to.”
Rams reliever Justin Stonkus started the ninth after throwing two scoreless innings in relief, he gave up six runs, only three of which were earned. Max Dieks then came on and gave up two more, none of which were earned. Dieks eventually got Tyler Gysbers to ground out softly, allowing the Rams to breathe a sigh of relief and take game a close game one.
It was two first year players who led the way offensively in game one. Infielder Tyler Hopper had three hits, driving in two runs, while Mitch Fiacco drove in three runs and scored twice while collecting a pair of hits. Additionally, outfielder Mrugen Mehta showed terrific plate discipline, walking three times and scoring three runs.
Game 2 - Ryerson 6, Laurentian 5 (9)
Roles reversed in game two, with the Rams being the ones mounting a comeback of their own.
The Voyageurs were able to chip away at Ryerson starting pitcher Jeremias Sucre, scoring a run in each of the first three innings. They would hold the 3-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh and final inning looking to close out the Rams.
After not being able to do much for most of the game against Laurentian starter Avery Chenier, a single-walk-single sequence capped off by a clutch at bat from Andrew Ciuffreda that drove in two runs brought the Rams within a run. Ciufredda then scored on an error by the Laurentian catcher to force extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, the Voyageurs responded and put up two runs in the ninth. A broken bat single off of fourth year pitcher,Kevin MacDonald, broke the tie.
Once again it forced the Rams to respond. A pair of walks by Anthony Fera and Spencer Snow brought third basemen RJ Mienkowski to the plate. On a 2-1 pitch, Mienkowski roped a ball to the fence in left field. A two-run double that cashed both runners and tied up the game once again. A walk and a hit-batsmen loaded the bases with one out for first-year Matt Tohana.
“Before the at bat, (coach) Kevin Bly told me the pitcher likes to leave the ball on the inside part of the plate, so I was looking for that,” says Tohana when asked about his approach. On the first pitch, he delivered with a sharp ground ball that scored Mienkowski and sealed the sweep for the home team.
Coach Rubin commended the effort from his ball club, saying, “It showed a lot of character coming back in two separate instances, definitely proud of how the guys responded.”
Tohana and Mienkowski stood out in game two, collecting two hits apiece and each scoring a run. Kevin Macdonald picked up the win as the Rams improve their record to 4-10 heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Up next: The Rams will be on the road next, for a series against Waterloo on Friday, October 5th at Jack Couch Park. First pitch at 1 pm.