TORONTO - After taking one on the chin against Brock in their home opener, the Baseball Hawks traveled to Toronto for a double-header with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday. The team needed to get into the win column and did just that, by sweeping the Blues.
In game one, Laurier sent veteran pitcher Brad Binns to the hill. Toronto countered with OUA veteran and former Waterloo Warrior, Tyler Wilson. Both pitchers sailed through the first 2 innings. However, in the top of the third, Laurier CF Jeff Brunsek had a 13 pitch at-bat in which he battled Wilson tooth and nail. Wilson eventually struck Brunsek out, but this particular at-bat took a lot out of Wilson and was a turning point in the game. The lengthy at-bat paid dividends for the Hawks in the top of the fourth when LF Jon Roth led off the inning with a deep fly ball into left-centre field that was misplayed by 2006 OUA Player of the Year, Travis Skelton. 3B Brian MacDonald ripped a single to put runners on first and third. RF Curtis Young hit a sacrifice fly to score Roth and open the scoring. With MacDonald on second base after a stolen base, freshman C Gary Money knocked him in with an RBI single to push the Hawks lead to 2-0. With Money on third base, freshman DH Troy Wiatr collected his first hit and first RBI with a single to right field to make it 3-0. Laurier extended the lead to 4-0 with a Damien Eccleton RBI single in the top of the 6th inning. Toronto took advantage of a Golden Hawk error to score 2 unearned runs off Binns in the bottom of the 6th inning to make the score 4-2 heading into the 7th inning. Laurier brought in Matt Young to shut the door however it was not Young’s day, as with one out, the Varsity Blues capitalized on 2 hits and 2 walks to tie the game at 4. The Hawks turned to freshman right-hander Jack Malone to force extra innings. Malone showed great poise in retiring the two hitters he faced to push the game into extra innings. The Hawks capitalized on a Blues’ error in the top of the 8th to put runners on base for Eccleton who once again came through in the clutch with an RBI single to give the Hawks a 5-4 lead. Malone shut the door in the bottom of the 8th to preserve the win for the Hawks and earn the first win of his career. Binns pitched a solid game for the Hawks as he went 6 innings allowing 2 runs, both unearned on 3 hits, 4 walks with 6 strikeouts. MacDonald, Wiatr and Eccleton led the offensive attack with 2 hits apiece. This victory marked the first in the coaching career of rookie Head Coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE.
With a great win in game one, the Hawks turned to junior left-hander Tim Sinyard in game two of the double-header. Sinyard has been an important part of the Golden Hawk bullpen in the past 2 seasons and this marked the first start of his University career. The Hawks opened the scoring in the top of the third by pushing 2 runs across courtesy RBIs from 1B Curtis Young and DH Chris Pittaway. The Blues touched up Sinyard for an unearned run in the bottom of the inning to cut the Laurier lead to 2-1. This was the closest that the Blues would get however on this afternoon as the Hawks extended the lead to 4-1 in the fourth with Roth contributing an RBI single and MacDonald an RBI double. The lead was extended to 6-1 in the top of the sixth with RBI’s going to Curtis Young and MacDonald. Freshmen RHP Brad Bach relieved Sinyard in the 6th and shut down the Blues over the final 2 innings recording 3 strikeouts. Sinyard earned the victory going 5 very strong innings allowing 1 run (unearned) on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts and no walks. The offense contributed 11 hits, with Scott Mahn, Roth, MacDonald and Curtis Young all collecting 2 hits each.
The double-header sweep was a total team effort with lots of players contributing. The Hawks will look to cap off a great weekend when they host the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday afternoon at Bechtel Park in Waterloo.