Climbing to the top of the standings

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s baseball team kept their hot September going with a two-game sweep against the Western Mustangs.

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

The wins keep on coming.

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s baseball team kept their hot September going with a two-game sweep against the Western Mustangs.

Head coach Scott Ballantyne said he was not ready to take Western lightly heading into the two games on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a good feeling whenever you can win two games, but we’ve had some struggle with them over the years,” he said. “They’re a good team, so it was nice to be able to beat them.”

After Laurier’s 3-2 win in the first game, the intensity between the two teams hit new heights early on in the second game of the afternoon at Betchel Park in Waterloo.

Both teams were grinding it out on the field as well as on the benches, where emotions were flaring.

Ballantyne discussed the difficulties of trying to stay composed in these kinds of situations.

“We know whenever we play these guys, it’s going to be a grind. For sure, they like to talk. We’re not going to shy away from that kind of thing. We held it well,” he said.

The third inning was full of momentum swings and Laurier took advantage of theirs and never looked back after rebounding to take the lead against Western with a four-run bottom of third inning, quieting the Western dugout.

Laurier’s pitching was once again the focal point for their winning success.

Starting pitcher Andrew Ziedins got high praise from Ballantyne on his ability to stay mentally strong early on in the game.

“Andrew, our pitcher, kept his cool, kept his demeanor,” said Ballantyne.

After the hectic third inning where Ziedins gave up two unearned runs, he managed to stay composed and won his third conference game of the year pitching a seven-inning complete game, the first of his career.

Ziedins was happy with the results of the game as well as being given the opportunity finishes the game.

“It feels pretty good. It was great to see them have the confidence in me to send me out for the seventh. I felt strong,” he said.

He attributes his strong composure to past experiences pitching against Western.

“It was like that last year in my first start against them. It was the same thing. But battling through it last year really helped me battle through it this year. I knew to just zone them out and get the job done,” he said.

Winning their last six games and going into the month of October with a conference play record of 11-1, Laurier’s baseball team is in mid-season form.

The Hawks now have the second best record in Ontario University Athletics (OUA). They only trail the Brock Badgers who are 13-11.

But, Ballantyne is not taking anything for granted is getting the team prepared for tough upcoming games.

“Next weekend we’ve got two [games] with Guelph and two with Brock. Two teams we’re battling out for first place with. It won’t be very hard to get up for those games and we just got to keep working hard every week to get better.”

Laurier’s next regular season game will be on Oct. 4 at Larry Pearson Field against Guelph.

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