WATERLOO, Ont. (September 13, 2015) - The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s baseball team opened their 2015 OUA Conference season on Saturday with a double header at Bechtel Park against the Queen’s Gaels.
Laurier was coming off a terrific pre-season where they finished with an 8-0-1 record. Queen’s was also coming off a strong pre-season where they won a tournament that they hosted. When the dust settled on an overcast afternoon in Waterloo, each team came away with a victory.
In Game One, Laurier sent veteran pitcher Jordan Petruska to the mound. Petruska enters his fifth and final year with the Golden Hawks after four very productive years. Queen’s capitalized on some Laurier nervousness in the first inning scoring 2 runs (1 unearned) as a throwing error by Laurier allowed the second run to score. The Laurier hitters were struggling to figure out Queen’s starter Tyler Whealy as he changed speeds very effectively all afternoon. Laurier finally got on the board in the 5th inning when DH Adam Shaver drove in C Daniel Apostoli who had reached on an error earlier in the inning. Queen’s responded and extended its lead to 3-1 in the 8th inning. Laurier mounted a comeback in the bottom of the 9th inning and tied the game. With the bases loaded and 1 out, the Queen’s reliever was able to induce a pop up off the bat of 3B Matt Voight for the second out. With 2 out, and after a long at-bat, 2B Robbie Cant scorched a line drive down the first base line that appeared to have won the game for Laurier. However the Queen’s first baseman, made a great catch to end the inning and snuff out the rally. This sent the game into extra innings. Noah Ivanyi entered the game to pitch the 10th inning for Laurier and after a one out walk, a Queen’s hitter laced a double into the LCF gap. Laurier made a strong relay to home plate and had a chance to nail the runner at home plate, however the ball popped out of C Daniel Apostoli’s glove allowing the runner to score. Queen’s tacked on an insurance run to take a 5-3 lead that would hold up. Ivanyi takes the loss in relief. Petruska worked 8 innings giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits with 1 walk, 2 HBP and 8 strikeouts. Offensively Laurier was led by CF Adam Raithby who had 3 hits. Apostoli, Shaver and 1B John King all had 2 hits apiece for Laurier. Laurier stranded 15 base runners in the game.
After the disappointment of the close loss in game two, Laurier turned to veteran starter Andrew Ziedins in game two of the double header. Ziedins was in control from the first inning on and completely shut down the Queen’s hitters. Laurier chipped away with single runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings and although they couldn’t break the game open, they had some good at bats that generated some runs. Ziedins picked up the complete game shutout giving up 5 hits with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Offensively, Laurier only managed 4 hits (Apostoli, Alex Kupchak, Raithby and Voight) but ran the bases well and took advantage of a couple of sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly off the bat of 2B Christian Hauck.
“Queen’s is a much improved team” commented Head Coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE. “I give full credit to their players and coaches as they are not an easy opponent to play against. We had plenty of chances in the first game but just struggled to get the 2 out base hit that is so important at this level. They capitalized on 2 mistakes that we made and that was the difference in the ball game. I liked the way we showed some grit in the 9th inning of game one, but it certainly wasn’t out best effort. I give our guys full marks for bouncing back in game 2 and Ziedins was dominant for us on the mound. We have a strong starting rotation and if we can play defense and get some clutch 2 out hits, we should have a successful season.”
Laurier was rained out on Sunday as they were scheduled to travel to Toronto to take on the Varsity Blues. The Golden Hawks will return to action on Wednesday against Toronto in a non-conference game at Bechtel Park at 7pm. The next conference games for the Golden Hawks will be on Sat. Sept. 19th vs. Waterloo at Jack Couch Park.