Badgers rally around strong pitching to take OUA lead

Chloe Charbonneau

The Brock men’s baseball team started off their weekend at George Taylor Field on Saturday with a doubleheader against the Laurier Golden Hawks. In their opening series of the weekend, the Badgers were poised to knock off one of the other top teams this year.

In game one, the Badgers were looking to carry the momentum from their walk off win against McMaster from last weekend into their meeting with the Golden Hawks. Alex Nolan was on the mound for the Badgers to start the day, and gave a strong pitching performance that helped lead Brock to a 9-3 victory.

Nolan was dominant early and often, and was able to get the Badgers out of a jam to end innings. With runners at second and third base in the second inning, Nolan was able to strikeout the Laurier hitter to end the inning. Then again in the third inning, with runners in scoring position, Nolan was able to strikeout a Laurier batter once again to end the scoring threat. This trend would continue in the fourth, as once again the Brock pitcher ended the inning with a strikeout.

Nolan saw his day end in the sixth after giving up a hit to start to the inning. By the time his day was done, he had pitched five innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs while also recording seven strikeouts. He was replaced by Andrew Raponi, who gave up 5 hits and one earned run over his 4.0 innings of action.

Meanwhile, the Badgers bats got them the early edge in the game. They scored one run in both the second and third inning, before exploding for four in the fourth inning and then three runs in the fifth. Noah Koffman, Matthew Legg and Nick Spillman led the way for the Badgers, each recording two runs batted in. Justin Gideon also provided a boost offensively, hitting two doubles and scoring twice in the game. The Badgers also showed a lot of patience at the plate in game one, as they reached base six times on a walk.

The Golden Hawks scored two runs in the fifth, and another in the sixth inning but ultimately never made the game close. When they had runners in scoring position, they were unable to capitalize on their chances. While part of this was due to the strong performance by Brock’s pitchers, some of the credit also has to go to the rest of the defence for making plays and limiting their fielding errors. In the end, the Badgers committed two errors, while the opposition had four.

Game two was much different for the Badgers. After recording twelve hits in the first game, that number dropped to seven in the second leg of the doubleheader. The Badgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after scoring a run in both the second and third innings. They would carry this lead into the seventh and final inning, as Brock pitcher Chase Porter was nearly untouchable all game long.

Porter followed up Nolan’s performance in game one with a dominant performance of his own in the second game. In 6.1 innings of play, he gave up only three hits and two runs, while striking out eight batters. Despite his strong performance through most of the game, Porter was charged with the two Laurier runs in the seventh inning that tied the game and forced extra innings.

In extra innings, Laurier was able to get a runner on base, but ultimately could not capitalize on their opportunity. In the bottom half of the inning, the Badgers were able to capitalize with runners on base. Third baseman Jaiden Hill hit a double to the fence, allowing the runner to score from first base. In the end, Brock came away with a 3-2 walk off victory, and a sweep of Laurier on Saturday.

The Badgers then travelled to London on Sunday to face the Western Mustangs. They lost the opener 4-0, ending their five game winning streak. Western took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, and that was all the offense that they needed to win. They added some insurance with runs in the fifth and sixth innings, while the Mustangs pitching silenced the Brock bats.

Brock rebounded in game two, with a strong start on their way to a 10-4 win. Justin Gideon was impressive for the Badgers, hitting a double and a home run while driving in three runs. Noah Koffman, Matthew Legg, Tyler Nakamura, Matthew Casburn and Nathan Laird also contributed to the scoring with some runs batted in of their own. Pitcher Jacob Ebbs went 5.1 innings, giving up five hits and four runs, while Nick Subramaniam played 1.2 innings without allowing a hit or run and striking out three batters.

The Badgers are now in first place in the OUA standings, with a 8-2 record. They have a slight edge over second place Laurier, who currently have a 7-3 record, and third place Western at 7-5. Brock has six games left in their regular season, with games against Queen’s, Ryerson and Guelph to finish the year. They host Ryerson on October 1, starting at 12:00 p.m.

 

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