Golden Hawks pitching disappears in playoffs

After entering the playoffs with the best team ERA in the OUA, Laurier’s pitching was the team’s weakness.

In the double elimination tournament Laurier lost their last two games 21-17. In their last game Jake Tougas allowed six runs in only three innings. Five runs in the third ended the day for Tougas who was replaced in the fourth by Eric Seeves. Seeves allowed two runs in .2 innings pitched to ruin Laurier’s comeback attempt.

Laurier did attempt a comeback in the bottom of the third scoring three runs to cut the deficit to 6-3. Playing a key role in the comeback was Jonathan Brouse. Brouse has been a star for Laurier all season and was named the OUA’s top hitter for the season.

The Golden hawks rallied in seventh inning thanks to a pair of Home Runs from Callum Murphy and Adam Shaver back to back in the seventh. Trailing 9-6 in the eight Brouse would start another rally to cut the Guelph lead to one.

In the top of the ninth Kyle Symington allowed two runs to allow Guelph to build a three run lead. Symington entered the game only allowing two earned runs all season in 9.2 innings pitched, but allowed three runs over three innings in the last game of the year for Laurier.

Laurier pitchers struggled all weekend including Christian Hauck. Hauck won OUA pitcher of the year in his first year after allowing only two runs in 27 innings pitched. In Laurier’s opening round win over Toronto Hauck allowed three earned, all in the first three innings, runs over six innings.

Laurier scored seven runs in the fourth inning in part because of two errors by Toronto. A 10-4 lead was all Laurier would need after four innings. The Golden Hawks held on to win 11-5 and set up a match with Waterloo.

Against Waterloo Andre Padmore recovered after allowing a run in the first. In the fourth with two outs Padmore ran into trouble and allowed seven straight runs without getting an out. The bullpen Nick Cook pitched two shutout innings in relief as Laurier scored eight runs to tie the game heading into the seventh.

With Zach Lawrence taking over for Padmore Waterloo scored two runs to retake the lead with a Kyle Thalheimer Home Run. In the ninth with the bases loaded with one out Daniel Apostoli was up and got a sacrifice fly to reduce the Warriors lead to 10-9. Murphy stepped up to the plate with the game on the line but grounded into a double play. The loss put Laurier in danger of elimination heading into the Gryphons game.

The early elimination is a let-down for Laurier based on their 15-3 record during the season in which they finished first in the OUA. Laurier was dominant on offence and defence. Laurier finished second in runs, although they lead the league with a team batting average of .308, OBP of .406 and SLG of .389 on the season. The offence was a team effort led by Brouse with the only other all-star being second baseman Jeff Hunt who made the second team.

The pitching staff led the conference with 46 earned runs on the season with 114 strikeouts. The staff was led by a pair of all-stars with Hauck and Symington being named to the first team. The strength was the bullpen with five pitchers having an ERA under 1.93.

With Brouse and Hunt graduating the pitching staff will have to stay strong next year which shouldn’t be a problem with the top seven pitchers in ERA set to return.

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