In the first game of a doubleheader, the Brock Badgers men’s Baseball team defeated the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by a final score of 11-4.
After a shaky start in which starter Alex Nolan gave up four runs in the first two innings, two unearned off two infield errors in the second inning, he came back for a scoreless third inning. That would be all for Nolan as manager Marc LePage gave him the early pull.
The Badgers bullpen responded to the call, and did not allow another run for the rest of the game, only allowing three hits altogether. Anchoring the bullpen with three innings of shutout ball in his Badger debut was Andrew Raponi.
On the offensive side, the Badgers’ prolific offense shined through and provided a lot of optimism for this season. They continued to score throughout the game, finally running away with it in the seventh after a two-run home run by centre fielder, Justin Gideon.
Coach LePage was thrilled with the comeback effort that his team displayed in the first game, commenting on their ability to “hit through one to nine.” If the starters are able to pitch a bit deeper into games, with their shutdown bullpen and lethal offense, the Badgers should become a force to be reckoned with throughout the OUA this season.
The only concern moving forward, however, is the amount of base-on-balls the pitching gave up on the day.
“We have to cut down on the walks. That’s 11 walks [in the first game], and it just leads to too much trouble,” said LePage.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Badgers’ bullpen couldn’t hold up as well as it did earlier in the day, falling behind 7-2 in the fifth inning. The Badgers, however, would come right back with six runs in the bottom half to regain the lead, then blow it again later on.
Moving into the bottom half of the final inning, shortstop Noah Koffman would hit a walk-off RBI single to win the game for the Badgers and start off their season undefeated at 2-0.
The team travels to Waterloo this Saturday for a doubleheader before returning home the next day for another doubleheader against McMaster at 12:00 p.m and 3:00 p.m at George Taylor Field.
-John Gobin, Assistant Sports & Health Editor