TORONTO – The Universit of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s baseball team picked up their first two wins of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season Saturday against the Ryerson Rams thanks, in large part, to their bats.
University of Toronto won the first game of the day, 8-3, and 13-1 in the second, in just five innings due to a mercy rule. Both games were played at Dan Laing Field at the school’s Scarborough campus.
Assistant manager, Mike McNeil said they got what they needed from their top players on this day.
“We hit the heck out of the ball. Our veterans really stepped up and showed us why they are our veteran players,” he said. “I think we played a really tight defensive game and we hit the ball.
“We just played good, clean baseball.”
In the first game, Peter Nash picked up the victory throwing 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out six batters.
Hee Do Kim, Tanner Young-Schultz and Andrew Mannone each drove in a pair of runs, highlighted by a five-run fifth inning.
In the second contest, the Blues hit the ball early and often. The Rams never stood a chance, as Toornto scored four in the first, three in the third and six in the fourth to lead 13-1.
The game was called after five innings.
Jonathan Isaac, a fourth-year outfielder, went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs scored in the second game. Isaac said the team’s focus and clean play paved the way for the wins.
“It was just a matter of us coming out focused and not trying to do too much. We know what we’re capable of and I think the thing that has been hurting us the past few games has been the errors, mental mistakes and we cleaned it up,” he said.
Even with the good defence, Isaac said their performances at the plate will determine the success or failure of the season.
“Since the first day of training camp, we knew our bats were going to be our strength for sure. We got a ton of guys that can hit, so as long as we can take care of our defence we know our bats will carry us through,” said Isaac.
Blues’ pitcher Ryan Donnelly got the win throwing all five innings, allowing one run on five hits. Quinn Cumming was stuck with loss, letting seven runs – only four earned – on nine hits.
“We got some good quality, efficient innings from our pitchers, they didn’t try to blow the ball by everybody,” said McNeil. “Our pitch counts were low and they got ground ball outs when we needed to.”
Toronto is now 2-for-3 on the young season. Even though they’ve started a little slow, McNeil thinks they have what it takes to go all the way again. They’ve won the OUA championship two years in a row.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t go three, you know what I mean, it’s baseball, anything can happen and I think we’ve got the boys here that can do it,” said McNeil.
The Varsity Blues will play another double-header on Sunday, this time against the Guelph Gryphons (3-1). Game times are 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Dan Laing Field.