Baseball improves to 4-0 in exhibition with sweep of Marauders
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - The Brock University baseball team dominated in their first exhibition games against an OUA opponent at Community Park Tuesday night. With the McMaster Marauders in town for a doubleheader, the Badgers won Game one by the score of 21-1 and followed that up with a 7-0 shutout victory in Game Two.
In Game One, senior starter Steve Hough (Brampton, Ont.) took to the mound for Brock, establishing his fastball early and often, pitching two innings, with three strike outs and one hit allowed.
In contrast, McMaster's pitchers battled with control issues and the Badgers hitters made them pay, batting around in the first and second innings, jumping out to a commanding 16-0 lead in the process.
Newcomer Adam Velocci (Markham, Ont.) led the Badgers offense going 4-for-5 with four RBI, one double, one walk and four runs. Junior Matt Kissel (Whitby, Ont.) went 3-for-4 with two RBI, one double, one walk and three runs while freshman Nick Anton (Brampton, Ont.) (2-for-5, four RBI, two doubles and two runs scored) and freshman Shaun Valeriote (Guelph, Ont.) (1-for-4, two RBI, one double, two walks and a stolen base) rounded out the Badgers offense in Game One.
In the bottom of the sixth, the heart of the Badgers' order, Valeriote, Velocci and Anton hit back-to-back-to-back doubles, increasing Brock's lead to 21-1.
"I think we were all just seeing the ball really well tonight," said newcomer Adam Velocci. Rookie Nick Anton echoed his teammate saying, "Every single guy on this team can hit. The coaches have been helping me with my swing in batting practice and it's paying off in the games so far."
The Badgers bullpen also looked strong, snuffing out any offensive hopes McMaster had in the game. In relief for Brock, pitchers Kyle Kelsey (Harrowsmith, Ont.) (two innings, one strike out and one hit), rookie Justin Ayles (two innings, two strike outs, and three hits) and sophomore Sean Mathe (Milton, Ont.) (one scoreless inning), shut the door on McMaster's hitters.
Brock looked to keep it’s hot offense going in the second half of the doubleheader, and succeeded by using aggressive base running to score three runs in the bottom of the first, as freshman Chris Anderi (Tecumseh, Ont.) stole two bases and senior Justin Parro (Brooklin, Ont.) stole one before scoring on a McMaster error, followed by Valeriote stealing third base and scoring on a passed ball.
Early run support did not cause a letdown from Brock’s strong pitching earlier in the day, as freshman Nick Baljeu took the start and threw two scoreless innings with only one hit allowed, and was relieved by junior Kyle Porter (Pickering, Ont.) who went two innings with no hits and two strikeouts. Freshman Jordan Vecchiarelli (Newmarket, Ont.) took over for Porter, and threw two solid innings with two strikeouts and one hit allowed. Sophomore Dave Gardiner (Ingersoll, Ont.) mopped up the game for Brock, registering two strikeouts in his one inning of work.
Anderi was a standout for Brock offensively adding a single, two runs scored and four stolen bases, while Daniel Forte (Mississauga, Ont.) followed a solid showing against Bullettproof with another good game registering a triple, with an RBI and stolen base. Junior Max Christiansen (Mississauga, Ont.) also had a solid night going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Badgers will tune up their game over the next few days before travelling to compete in the Laurier Invitational Tournament on the weekend. Stay tuned for more updates and season previews.
Written by: Shawn Eckford