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Men's Baseball
Men's Baseball starts the season with a 2-2 record.
Men's Baseball starts the season with a 2-2 record.
Laurier Baseball splits series with Guelph
Laurier: 8 Guelph: 9
GUELPH, Ont. - The Laurier men's baseball team (2-2) split a double header at Hastings Stadium in Guelph with the University of Guelph Gryphons (3-1) on Sunday afternoon.  Guelph held on for a 9-8 win in game one and the Hawks bounced back to win game two 14-3.

Jack Malone (Toronto, Ont.) got the start for the Hawks in game one and battled through six innings giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts to pick up a no decision.  Guelph opened the scoring in the first inning and Laurier responded in the top of the third with two runs capped by an RBI double by third baseman Ryan Panas (Toronto, Ont.).  Guelph responded with a rally in the bottom of the third when with two out and two on, the Guelph hitter laced a single into right field.  The runner from third scored and the runner from second was on his way to the plate when Laurier right fielder James Bruce unleashed a throw to the plate that forced the Guelph runner to stop in his tracks.  A run-down ensued and the runner eventually made contact with Laurier rookie catcher Andrew Czuchnicki and was called out and ejected from the game as the OUA has a strict no contact rule.  Guelph took a 3-2 lead with a single run in the fourth inning, but again, Laurier responded with a run in the top of the fifth courtesy a Panas sacrifice fly to tie the game at three.  A two run HR by the Guelph catcher in the fifth inning gave Gryphons a 5-3 lead in this see-saw affair.  Again, Laurier responded with a single run in the sixth inning when centre fielder Nathan Loehle (Cambridge, Ont.) singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error.  Panas drove him in with a single for his third RBI of the game.  In the top of the eighth inning, with the score still 5-4 for Guelph, Laurier put together another rally.  With one out, rookie shortstop Tim Schell (Mississauga, Ont.) singled and stole second base.  Loehle walked to put runners at second and third.  With two out, Panas was intentionally walked to load the bases for first baseman Brian MacDonald (Markham, Ont.).  MacDonald worked the count and hit a two run single into left field to score Schell and Loehle to give the Hawks a 6-5 lead.  Guelph showed a lot of fight and took advantage of a key Laurier error with one out and no one on in the bottom of the eighth inning off Laurier veteran reliever David Canavan (Whitby, Ont.).  The error was compounded by three walks and three hits and led to four Guelph runs.  With the score 9-6, Laurier fought back in the top of the ninth to make things interesting as they plated two runs to make the score 9-8 when the Guelph left fielder made a nice catch to end the game with Panas on-deck.  Canavan was tagged with the loss.  Wes Van Luven (Orillia, Ont.) worked a scoreless seventh inning for the Hawks.

Offensively, Laurier pounded out 10 hits and were led by Ryan Panas (2-3 with 3 RBI), Nathan Loehle (2-5 with 3 runs scored), Brian MacDonald (2-5 with 2 RBI) and Tim Schell (1-4 with 2 runs scored).

Laurier came out on all cylinders in game two putting up three runs in the first and five more in the second to jump out to a 8-1 lead through two innings.  Rookie pitcher Ian Filion (Whitby, Ont.) got the start and worked two innings.  He was relieved by transfer Tyler Soucie (Cambridge, Ont.) who worked three solid innings for the win.  Brett Barwick (Orangeville, Ont.) pitched a scoreless sixth inning as the mercy rule was invoked with the score 14-3 through six innings.

The Hawks offence exploded for 16 hits and 14 runs to close out the weekend.  Offensive leaders included: Ryan Panas (4-5 with 2 runs scored), Nathan Loehle (3-4 with 3 runs), Brian MacDonald (2-3 with 2 runs scored), Mike Kennedy (1-3), James Bruce (2-4) and Tim Schell (1-2 with 4 runs scored). 

The Hawks finished the weekend at 2-2 and scored an impressive 32 runs in the four games.

"I really like the way we swung the bats in the last three games of the weekend," commented head coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE.  "We have some guys who came out swinging and put up some big offensive numbers.  We need to tighten up on defence as we were our own worst enemy in our two losses.  We know we have a solid team and that this league has a lot of good teams.  We have to play hard each and every day and if we do, I think we’ll have a good season."

The Hawks are at home on Tuesday night for an exhibition game with the Ontario Nationals at 7:30 p.m.  Next OUA action is Friday evening when the Hawks travel to Labatt Park to take on the Western Mustangs in a re-match of the 2009 OUA finals.   
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