The Brock Badgers stayed hot this past weekend, sweeping Western on Saturday, extending their win streak to eight games before splitting the Sunday doubleheader against Guelph. The Badgers have now won nine of their last 10 games, propelling them to a 9-3 record overall, good for first place four weeks into the season.
The Saturday doubleheader kicked off with Alex Nolan on the hill, and after pitching a 13 strikeout, complete game shutout his last time out, Nolan one-upped himself by throwing a 14 strikeout, three hit, complete game shutout to lead Brock to a 3-0 win over Western. That gives Nolan 18 out of a possible 18 innings pitched, along with 27 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA over his two starts. Not to mention a 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a pair of wins along the way.
“Alex [Nolan] has been amazing all season, playing behind him has been kind of easy, you get to watch a baseball game,” said Badgers shortstop Noah Koffman. “It’s been a lot of fun to watch — our whole pitching staff has been amazing all season long.”
Koffman himself would contribute in a major way in game two against Western, tying the game up in the third with a monster solo shot to right.
“[There was a] lefty throwing, so I was just looking to wait back, get a good pitch that I can drive, and hopefully get on the bag so somebody can drive me in. [I] got a pitch that I liked, and got a good piece of it,” said Koffman.
Chase Porter took to the mound for game two, allowing just one run and three hits while striking out five over five innings of work. Will Da Costa, Ben Tiw, and Jacob Underwood would all go on to drive in runs; Matthew Balkwill closed out the game with help from first baseman Underwood, who turned a terrific 3-6-3 double play before Balkwill froze the final batter, sealing the 4-1 win.
Sunday saw a bigger challenge for the Badgers, as they ended up splitting their doubleheader with the Guelph Gryphons. Jacob Ebbs started the first game for Brock, but after a rough third inning that saw the Gryphons put up a five spot, the Badgers eight game win streak would come to an end, ultimately dropping by a score of 7-3.
The Badgers looked to bounce back in game two, and the pitching trio of Andrew Raponni, Jacob Repenning, and Matthew Balkwill helped the Badgers win a 3-2 game in extras. Ryan Bench and Matthew Cashburn knocked in a run each, before the most exciting play in baseball helped seal the deal in extras: the walk-off balk! Jacob Underwood balked off the Gryphons to give Brock the win.
“We just compete, we don’t give up, we’re always in the game,” said Koffman. “Our pitchers kept us in the game, our defence has been great, and we get hits when we need it.”
The Badgers have certainly been a fun team to watch all season long, and like Koffman said, the pitching staff has been especially dominant.
The Badgers will look for four more wins next weekend when they take on the Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday, before facing the Queen’s Gaels on Sunday.