After two long years, McGill’s men’s baseball is finally back. The highly-anticipated return of one of McGill’s most competitive teams kicked off with a series against the University of Toronto (UofT) (4–0) where the Redbirds did not disappoint. McGill cleaned out the Blues, sweeping the series and scoring 18 runs over the three games.
The team then packed their bags for the Toronto Labour Day classic tournament. After dropping their first game to UofT, the Redbirds trounced the Humber College Hawks (0–4) in a dominating 15-6 win. Unfortunately, this would be their only win of the tournament as the team suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of the Laurier Golden Hawks (2–2), bringing their record to 4–3.
On Sept. 6, the Redbirds (4–4) set out to bounce back after a losing weekend against the Concordia Stingers (2–0). On Tuesday night, right-handed pitcher and first-year Marcus De La Cruz got the ball for the Redbirds and quickly put away Concordia’s leadoff hitter, earning his first strikeout of the night.
After a hit-by-pitch, an unlucky bloop single from Concordia’s Jarod Pita knocked in the first run of the game, giving the Stingers a 1-0 lead coming out of the first.
Starting on the bump for Concordia was Benjamin Powell, who sent McGill back to the field with a quick 1-2-3 first.
Still down 1-0, McGill’s offence began to warm up after catcher Chris Bodine gave the Redbirds their first hit of the game with a single in the bottom of the third. After two wild pitches, Bodine made his way to third, scoring on a balk and tying the game 1-1.
But the Redbirds couldn’t hold on and the Stingers scored on back-to-back singles, giving Concordia a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Concordia’s offence opened up the game with an RBI double, giving the Stingers a 3-1 lead and ending De La Cruz’s night on the bump with a final line of 4.0IP, 6H, 4ER, and 3Ks.
With Donovan Worrall now in to pitch for McGill, the Stingers cashed in on an RBI single from Pita and exited the fifth with a 4-1 lead.
After continued silence from McGill’s offence in the bottom of the fifth, Concordia scored again in the top of the sixth and again in an error-filled top of the seventh to make it 6-1.
Despite the team’s defensive struggles, head coach Casey Auerbach remained optimistic about the team’s prospects.
“It’s so early. We’ve been off for three years,” said Auerbach in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “We’re just kind of keeping our expectations realistic and we haven’t had a ton of time to practice. Obviously there was a bit of disappointment with the way we played defensively tonight.”
Auerbach also noted the success of the team’s offence in previous games, and hopes it can bounce back for the team’s upcoming games.
“I think we’ve been swinging the bat pretty well to start games, so I just kind of hope we come out with that same fire and hopefully we can keep it consistent for seven innings.”
The crowd caught glimpses of the team’s offensive potential as they threatened a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. After back-to-back walks, infielder Milo Young stepped up with an RBI single on a line drive to left field, giving the Redbirds some life and making it 6-2.
With runners on first and second, outfielder Jonas Press grounded into a fielder’s choice and scored McGill’s last run of the game. Despite the disappointment of the 6-3 final score, Young feels hopeful about the team going forward.
“It was a tough loss,” said Young. “Obviously, we hate losing to our rivals but I think there’s a lot of positives that we can take from it. We know what we have to do better to improve and we’ll come out and beat these guys [Concordia] next time we play them.”
Moment of the game: In the second inning, McGill’s defence struggled with a couple of errors, but a timely double-play turned by second-baseman Milo Young and first-baseman Brad Marelich held the inning intact.
Stat Corner: Auguste Guern led the team in hits, going two for three with two singles.
Quotable: “I always hunt fastballs, so I was just looking for a fastball to just drive in the gaps.” —Second-baseman Milo Young on his hitting approach