THURSDAY’s GAME: Rams win second game at home
By Sarah Cunningham-Scharf
The Ryerson Rams baseball team defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 7-5 on Thursday night at Howard Talbot Park.
Alan Perkins threw three-and-a-third innings of shutout baseball in relief and left fielder Thomas Bidzinksi went two for four with an RBI as the Rams remained undefeated at home, ending an eight-game losing streak on the road.
Head coach Ben Rich claimed the Rams’ better all-around game- consistency and focus- were paramount in beating the Varsity Blues for the first time this season.
“Executing when we needed to was fantastic. The whole mentality of everybody throughout the entire game, there was intensity and there was focus from start to finish,” he said.
Ryerson starting pitcher Bryan Vardzel didn’t allow a run in the first two innings and ended the game allowing three earned runs in five-and-two-third innings, picking up his second win of the season.
Toronto starter Alexander Pagila was knocked, allowing four earned runs in two-and-two-thirds innings in a losing performance
The Rams started the scoring early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first after left-fielder Thomas Bidzinski hit a double to score.
“Being a first-year team, it’s tough. It’s halfway through the season so we’re all starting to bond, and starting to play some good baseball,” said Bidzinski.
Keyed by a Vardzel walk and a Capstick error in the top of the third, Toronto scored two runs to cut the deficit to 3-2.
But the Rams responded in the bottom half of the inning with another double from Bidzinski, who was batted in by right-fielder Jason Te’s sacrifice fly to centrefied.
But Toronto tied the game at four in the top of the fourth, due to second baseman Bradley Bedford’s triple and shortstop Mark Tari’s error.
However, the Rams put up two more runs in the fifth inning on a Bidzinki sacrifice fly and a single from Te.
Both teams traded runs in the sixth, with the Rams leading 7-5 through six.
Perkins put up four strikeouts through three-and-a-third innings of work, lowering his ERA to an OUA-best 0.66.
After eight straight losses – including two against the Varsity Blues – the win appeared to boost the team’s morale as the players flooded onto the diamond, congratulating each other following the final out.
“If we just focus on performing the way we’re capable of, good things are going to keep happening,” said Rich.
SATURDAY’s DOUBLE HEADER: Ryerson strikes out against Western
By Luke Galati
The Ryerson Rams men’s baseball team lost both games of a double header against the Western Mustangs on Saturday at Talbot Park, losing a hard fought first game 8-5 and dropping the second game 16-0.
“Our first game was a very solidly played game by us, we had a lot of nice hits and after a shaky first inning from Quinn [Cumming], we really settled down and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
In the first game, Ryerson out-hit Western 11-7 and Mark Tari, Josh Lund, Jason Te and Nathan Shiwcharan all managed to earn two hits each, but three errors and lack of clutch hitting proved costly.
Ryerson started the game off slowly and in the first inning, starting pitcher Quinn Cumming gave up three runs.
Ryerson’s outfielder (and occasional pitcher) Jason Te, who’s having a stellar year, batting .378 with 14 hits in only 13 games, continued his dominance on Saturday, hitting his first homerun of the season- a soloshot- in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, the Rams scored two runs on a Thomas Bidzinki double and a Bredan Grimes double-play putout with no one out.
However, the Mustangs would get the insurance they needed with an RBI double by first baseman Mitch Grossell in the fifth inning and on would cash in another on two-out error by Rams third baseman Josh Lund in the sixth inning, giving the Mustangs a 6-3 lead.
The Rams and Mustangs would each score a pair more- keyed by Te’s lead-off homerun in the sixth- but it wasn’t enough for the home-town Rams.
“I was just looking for a good pitch and thankfully he threw me one right down the middle,” said Te.
Left fielder Nathan Shiwcharan was happy with the effort the team gave, but thought there was room for improvement.
“We’ve got to come up bigger in clutch situations, we have to be a clutch team to compete in our division.”
The second game of the double header was an ugly one for the Rams, who gave up 16 runs on 13 hits and four errors.
Simon Weisz went two for three with three runs scored, Graham Holland went three for five with two RBI and Robbie Richards went two for five with two RBI as the Rams suffered their worst defeat of the season.
“We looked tired in the second game against Western, who’s tough and solid all around,” said coach Rich. “I thought we just lost our focus, which is a good learning experience moving forward.”
Eight of the nine Mustangs had hits as Western scored in four of the seven innings, including a seven-run seventh inning.
Conversely, six Rams batters went hit-less at the plate.
Rams pitchers were struck, as starter Jason Te allowed six runs in two innings, but the bleeding didn’t stop from there.
Most notably reliever Luis Marquez allowed three earned runs on three walks to begin the seventh inning, though he could not retire a single batter before he was pulled.
However, in his first game since straining his rotator cuff and bicep tendon three months ago, Rams reliever Toby Kerr pitched one-and-two-third shutout innings.
The road to recovery wasn’t an easy one for Kerr, who has been going to physiotherapy three times a week and has been in the gym on a rigorous weight training program to get back in the game.
“It feels great getting back in there, before the game I was feeling so nervous that I almost threw up,” said the Tottenham, Ont., native.
Coach Rich understands that in the inaugural season of Ryerson baseball, success is a process.
“This is a program, which is to be an institution, that’s going to be a part of Ryerson, year after year and we’re going to play hard until the last out, every game,” said Rich.
SUNDAY’s DOUBLE HEADER: Rams Lose Doubleheader to Guelph Gryphons
By Devin Jones
The Ryerson Rams dropped two games of a home double-header against the Guelph Gryphons, losing 7-1 and 7-4 Sunday at Howard Talbot Park.
In game one, right fielder Peter Riccardi went two for four with two RBI and starter Lucas Borges went six innings of one-run baseball as the Gryphons handed the Rams their second straight loss in a seven-inning game.
The Gryphone scored first on a Sean Molony solo-homerun in the top of fourth with two out.
But the Rams would respond with a homer of their own off the bat shortstop Mark Tari to tie it at one.
But that was all the offense the home team would get.
Borges stymied Rams hitters, scattering just five hits en route to his third win of the season.
Rams starter Allan Perkins allowed six runs in five plus innings, thanks to a five-run sixth inning where he could not record a single out.
Tari’s error in the sixth opened the gates for a big inning for Guelph in the sixth. Second baseman Wade Sage hit a double and left fielder Joseph Ciccia singled before Perkins was replaced by Luc Chrichton.
The bleeding didn’t stop, though, as the Gryphons would score five runs in the inning, capped by first baseman Wes Romak’s sacrifice fly to plate Riccardi.
“We definitely need to sharpen up on defensive,” said head coach Ben Rich. “Obviously there were a number of ground balls that, if we’re going to come up against top teams and win, we need to come up with. “
It could have been the lack of defense that cost the Rams the game but according to Perkins, it was all the small things they practice on.
“I just think it’s the little things: cut-off man, run downs as you saw cost a run and just getting better all around pretty much. We have to build off the positives, and take them into the next game,” he said.
In game two, second baseman Wade Sage went three for four with two RBI and starter Jeff Snelgrove pitched four-and-a-third of one-run baseball as Guelph’s three-run fifth inning provided the insurance they needed for the sweep.
With the game tied at one after four innings, first baseman Matt Forer singled home Peter Riccardi and leftfielder Wes Romak hit a sacrifice fly to score Wade Sage.
Then, with two outs in the top of the fifth, centrefielder Kevin Winters singled up the middle, scoring Forer and giving the Gryphons a three-run lead in the process.
The Rams would trade runs in their bottom half of the fifth and in Guelph’s top of the sixth, and both teams put up a two-spot in their halves of the ninth.
But the Gryphons held on.
Rams starter Bryan Vardzel was shelled in a losing performance, allowing five runs in six innings of work.
Rams second baseman Steven Skrela went hitless in four at-bats while lead-off batter Nathan Shiwcharan went hitless in five tries
However, according to Tari, the first-year Rams are on the right track.
“I think all of us coming from baseball in the past,” said the Woodbridge, Ont., native. “We all know what the deal is. It shouldn’t be too big an issue, and we should be able to fight through it.”
The Rams play their next game on Tuesday, Oct. 1. against the Waterloo Warriors at Howard Talbot Park.