Entering the 2013 OUA men’s baseball season, the McMaster Marauders were expecting some growing pains on the mound, having lost two key pitchers in the offseason. Coupled with their unexpected difficulties hitting the ball, the team has started the campaign agonizingly slow out of the gate, going 1-5 in the last week of play. However, with the last game of that stretch being a solid win against a team that drubbed them hours earlier in the first game of a doubleheader, things may be starting to look up for the squad.
McMaster started the six-game block on Sept. 8 with a doubleheader. The first game of the set was a seesaw affair against the Guelph Gryphons that required extra innings to declare a winner. When the dust had settled, the Gryphons prevailed 10-8 due to some shoddy fielding in the extra frame leading to two unearned runs. Designated hitter Jake Chiaravalle looked more like the prolific hitter he was last season with a triple. Second baseman Eric Telford also hit a three-bagger, while first baseman Rob Birtles was solid with thirteen put outs.
Emotionally drained by the unfortunate loss just hours earlier, the second game of the doubleheader was a forgettable one for Mac, as they were mercied 10-0 in a 5 inning, no-hit gem by the league leading Brock Badgers and pitcher Daniel Veres.
McMaster’s scoring slump carried over to the following Saturday, when they faced the Waterloo Warriors in a two game home stand. In the first game, Mac just could not get the bounces they needed, recording eight hits but not a single run in a 12-0 loss. Rookie third baseman Joe Asztalos, who has been in and out of the lineup so far this season, made a strong case for more playing time with a 3 for 3 day.
The second outing was a much better effort for the Maroon and Grey, but, as is quickly becoming a trend this season, the inability to buckle down in the last inning of the game led to a 7-4 loss against the same Warriors club. Travis Flint led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a stolen base in the losing cause.
Sunday brought the Queen’s Gaels to town for a two game showdown. The first game was a catastrophe, a 17-4 mercy, fueled by 14 walks. The lone bright spot for Mac were the Travises: Travis Gibson who went 2 for 2 and Travis Flint who had himself a 2 for 3 afternoon with a double.
After the game, head coach Wayne Gowan must have said something that lit a fire under the team, because they came back and beat the same Gaels squad that seemed untouchable only hours before. The 6-4 final does not do the game justice, as McMaster outhit Queen’s 14-5, but committed 5 costly errors. Travis Flint, now thoroughly entrenched in a hot streak, went 2 for 4, while Travis Gibson and Eric Telford hit doubles. Veteran starting pitcher Jake Roberts put in six solid innings to finish with a three-hit, two-run effort.
The weekend ahead for McMaster provides a chance to move up in the standings with a double header against the middling Western Mustangs