There were definitely glimpses of the team that the inaugural version of the Laurentian Voyageurs baseball crew could become. Glimpses, without a doubt, just not enough to translate into a season-opening win.
Kicking off their first year of OUA (Ontario University Athletics) competition by hosting a pair of opponents who have historically found themselves in the top half of the league standings, the Voyageurs went winless (0-4), though two of the games were very much up for grabs.
After showing plenty of signs of nervousness in their home opener Saturday at noon against Western (15-1 loss), the Laurentian lads bounced back nicely, leading through much of the second half of the double-header before dropping an 8-7 decision to the Mustangs.
The top four batters in the Western lineup unleashed the bulk of the damage in game one, with Rhett Roney, Harry Weisdorf, Eric Beauchesne and Jeff Martin going a combined 10/15 (.667), scoring eight runs and driving in an even dozen.
The Laurentian pitching trio of Tyler Mackillop, Ryan Faubert and Jacob Savage did themselves no favours, walking no less than 10 batters and hitting another five Western batsmen with pitches along the way. Thankfully, things settled down nicely for the entire LU staff for the remainder of the weekend.
Surprisingly, the Voyageurs had no trouble getting some wood on Western starter Adam Paish, pounding out seven hits while striking out but three times. The homeside found their rallies quickly killed, however, as the visitors turned three key double plays along the way.
Offensively, Avery Chenier went 2/3 for coach Brodie Jeffery and company, while Nick Luschyn boasted a stat line of 2/2 with a walk. The Voyageurs scored their only run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Austin Flannigan reached on a walk, with Luschyn drawing a free pass directly behind him and Jeremy Roach loading the bases on a single.
The historic first RBI for Laurentian baseball came in a most unconventional way when Kody Anton was plunked by a pitch from the Western reliever, sending Flannigan trotting home from third.
Following a tight loss in game two, the Voyageurs had to come from behind in their Sunday opener, spotting the Guelph Gryphons a 6-1 lead by the top of the fourth inning before rallying and coming up short in an 8-6 setback.
Once again, it was top of the order troubles that caused the headache for the LU crew, with leadoff hitter Robert Wolfer going 3/4 with three runs scored and two RBIs for Guelph, while Evan Britt, hitting third, was 3/5 with three RBIs. In total, the Gryphons pounded out 14 hits, including no less than seven doubles.
Garrett Morgan picked up the win on the mound for Guelph, surrendering three runs on two hits and five walks, while Thomas Atkinson was tagged with the loss, eating up nearly six innings for Laurentian while giving up seven runs on 12 hits, but only two base on balls.
Mackillop came on in relief and enjoyed a far better showing than on Saturday, allowing just one run to score over 3 1/3 innings of work, touched for two hits and a walk. At the plate, Jeremy Roach went 2/4 with two runs scored and a triple, while Avery Chenier picked up a pair of RBIs on a sacrifice fly and a ground out.
Following is a complete breakdown of the six runs scored by Laurentian:
B1 - Roach walks, steals second and scores on a double from Shane Patterson (Guelph 1 L.U. 1)
B4 - Ethan Murdy walks, steals second and third and scores on a wild pitch (Guelph 6 L.U. 2)
B5 - Roach leads off with a triple and scores on sacrifice fly by Chenier (Guelph 6 L.U. 3)
B7 - Anton reaches on an error, is balked to second and eventually scores on a ground out by Chenier (Guelph 7 L.U. 4)
B9 - Flannigan singles and is followed by a double from PH Patrick Comfort; Roach grounds out to score Flannigan (PR Kyle Wilkinson remains at second); single from PH Braden Whelan drives in Wilkinson (Guelph 8 L.U. 6)
Limited to just two hits in game two, the Voyageurs were swept aside 7-0 by the Gryphons. The team is on the road this weekend for another four game set, facing the University of Toronto Blues for a pair on Saturday and off to Kingston on Sunday for a double-header against the Queen's Gaels.