THE GEES START OFF RIVALRY WEEK WITH A PAIR OF LOSSES
The Gee-Gees baseball team was the first to kick off Rivalry Week — a series of games between cross-city rivals, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University leading up to Panda Game.
Wednesday night, the Gees took on the Ravens in a matchup called the O-Train series. The name is reminiscent of the O-Train, which is a mode of transport which can get a person from one school to the other.
This was a back-to-back for the second and third game of the series, with the first game already having been won by Carleton.
The Gees had a tough task, as they would have to go up against Nathan Van Putten of the Ravens. In his last start, he tossed a no-hitter, striking out 12 batters in the process.
The Gees looked to get at him early, though, as he hit Jerome Murray, the lead-off batter, and then Kieran Martini-Wong legged out a bunt to put the Gee-Gees on first and second with no outs. The next batter struck out.
This is where things got interesting. Phil Donaldson hit what looked to be a tailor-made double play to second. The Ravens got the out at second base, however, a throw that would have ended the inning went wide of the mark. The ball appeared to go out of the field of play, and the runner at third advanced to score.
Or so the Gees thought.
The two umpires officiating the game came together for a discussion, and they resolved the matter by taking away the run and putting the runner back on third. This proved costly, because the next batter, Mitchell McKinney, hit the ball hard — but right at a fielder to end the inning and any early momentum the Gee-Gees were feeling.
The Ravens had a good pitcher on the mound, so the Gee-Gees countered by sending Max Zentil, a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher with good movement on his pitches.
The next inning, both pitchers settled in mowing down hitters in the order. It was in the third inning when the Gees caught a couple of bad bounces.
The bottom of the third started with Zentil picking up his fourth strikeout of the night on an outside fastball. The next batter, who was the first to get decent contact on Zentil all night, hit a hot shot off the third basemen’s glove that went into the outfield, which the batter legged out for a double. The next batter for Carleton grounded the first pitch of the at-bat to the right side of the infield advancing the previous runner to third base.
This is where it went from bad to worse for Gee-Gees third basemen, Ansh Ghosh.
A hard-hit grounder to him was not fielded cleanly, and he couldn’t get the runner at first. The next batter grounded out, and the Gees got the runner at second to end the frame.
Although Zentil was dealing and pitching to weak contact for the most part, it was the Gees who found themselves down 1-0.
For the next little bit, the bats went quiet for the Gees, as they would have four of their next ten batters striking out, with only one reaching base via a walk and none getting hits.
The Ravens looked to capitalize. In the bottom of the sixth, Zentil would hit the first batter of the inning and then induce a ground ball, which let the runner advance to second but got an out in the process.
He then allowed a single to center, which brought the lead runner to third base. The Ravens also elected to pinch run for the runner at first. Zentil forced a ground ball which could have ended the inning with a double play. However, shortstop, Martini-Wong had an unfortunate turn of events, which allowed the runner from third to score.
With two outs now, another groundball to the shortstop happened, but this time his throw to first was unable to be picked out, allowing another run to cross the plate.
At this, head coach Roberto Suppa had seen enough. Although his starting pitcher did his job well, the defence behind him had some trouble keeping points in the game. Coach Suppa went to the lefty, Stephen Krauhaker.
Krauhaker had a rough start giving up a walk, then a bloop scored the runner from third, and the runners advanced to second and third base. He stopped the bleeding, though, when he got the next batter to ground out, marking the end of an unfortunate inning.
The Gees would have one more chance to make a comeback in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t meant to be, as the three batters they sent up all were retired en route to a complete-game shutout for Carleton pitcher, Van Putten.
Although it was a cold evening, it was a decent performance on the mound for the Gees. Unfortunately, they did not have the hitting on the day to match it.