The Varsity Blues baseball team began their quest to repeat as OUA champions on Saturday in a doubleheader at the Ninth Line Sports Park against the McMaster Marauders. Despite the cold weather, the games provided excellent action.
In the first match, what was expected to be a good offensive game proved just the opposite as the Blues found themselves in a pitching duel. Blues starting pitcher Angus Roy took complete control of the game. He finished with seven innings pitched, zero earned runs, seven strikeouts and three hits. Roy’s strong work gave the Blues an opportunity to take game one of the best-of-three series.
Game two of the series started with McMaster taking a quick lead in the top of the second inning. Blues starting pitcher Brian Dikdan hit two McMaster batters, putting them on base and in scoring position. Then, after a key error by the Blues, McMaster took advantage by getting two hits and grabbing a 3-0 lead in the game.
The Blues responded in the bottom of the second inning by showing some great patience at the plate. U of T’s batters did not go after a couple of wild pitches and took two walks, advancing the runner home and closing the gap to 3-1. This was the only mistake the McMaster pitcher made in the game. The lefthander seemed to baffle the Blues batters, keeping them off balance and giving up only three hits in his six innings of work.
McMaster got the insurance run they needed in the top of the fourth inning. A leadoff triple by the Marauders off starting pitcher Brian Dikdan, along with an error by the Blues shortstop, gave McMaster a 4-1 lead.
Though the Marauders had excellent pitching during key moments of the game, the team made a bizarre change on the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. This seemed to spark the Blues, who mounted a rally when McMaster’s closing pitcher gave up a single to Greg Cullen and walked Steve Correia and Angus Roy. The comeback was halted when Greg Clarence grounded out to end the game.
The lack of offence concerned Blue Angus Roy. “Hitting is contagious and the Blues are struggling at the plate,” he said. “Once one or two players get some key hits, then the rest of the Blues offence will respond.”
U of T now finds itself in a must-win game three against McMaster in Hamilton next weekend.
“Our pitching has been great and the defence has been solid. If the hitting comes around and we play our game, we should have nothing to worry about,” said Blues coach Dan Lang.
Photograph by Kara Dillon