The Western Mustangs baseball team saw their 10 game winning streak slip away Saturday as they took on the McMaster Marauders.
After McMaster clawed their way back to tie the game 10-10 late in the game and force extra innings, a throwing error by Mustangs catcher Matthew Antonello allowed Marauders center fielder Paul Saville to score the eventual winning run in the top of the 10th inning.
Western was unable to find one more offensive push in the bottom of the inning, allowing the Marauders to post an 11-10 victory, their first in three tries against the first-place Mustangs this season.
Despite resting a number of his usual starters, Mustangs head coach Mike Lumley felt the team he put out on the field played well enough to win the back-and-forth affair.
“These are all good baseball players,” Lumley said. “We expect them to go out there and play well for us. Our offence performed well today with 10 runs, we just had a couple of bad bounces in the field that prevented us from getting the win.”
After McMaster jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off Mustangs starter Robbie Charter, Western’s offence was able to bounce back and seemed too much for the Marauders to handle. They took an early stranglehold on the game, with two-run singles from Graham Fulton and Daniel Goldberg capping a seven-run outburst in the opening two innings that chased McMaster starting pitcher Geoffrey Strong off the mound.
The Marauders managed to battle back, chipping away at the Mustangs’ lead with single runs in the third and fifth innings, before breaking through with a sixth inning rally off of reliever Will Cook tied the game at seven. A miscommunication at second base on a double steal attempt allowed one run to score, before a sacrifice fly from Saville brought home another.
It appeared as though things were back on track for the Mustangs as they took their three-run lead back in the bottom of the inning, keyed by RBI hits from Goldberg and first baseman J.D. Hartnagle. However, with Cook still on the mound, McMaster engineered a two-out rally in the top of the seventh, evening the score once again on Colin Campbell’s two-run single and a wild pitch from Cook’s replacement, left-hander Christian Davies.
Despite the great offensive day, another rally was not in the cards for Western, as the Marauders received some much-needed work from their bullpen. Relievers Cameron Ryerson and Jacob Roberts combined to limit the Mustangs to three runs and seven hits over the final eight innings, allowing Saville’s base running heroics to win it for the Marauders in the 10th inning.
McMaster head coach Wayne Gowan was thrilled with his team’s overall effort, but stressed his relief pitching was the key to the win.
“Cam [Ryerson] came in and gave us some great pitching in the middle innings,” Gowan said. “We’re very happy with the win, we’ve been working hard all year so it’s nice to be rewarded.”
Mustangs veteran catcher Brandon Banaschewski, 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI on the day, echoed the sentiments of his head coach, saying the offense was there, but a few bounces changed the game.
“At the plate, we felt really good today,” Banaschewski said. “A couple of bounces didn’t go the way we all hoped they would. It was unfortunate we came out with the loss, but we’ll rebound.”
In Sunday’s action at Brock, the Mustangs finished their regular season schedule by dropping both games to the Badgers by identical 3-2 scores, allowing Brock to overtake Western and finish first in the regular season standings.