Late-Inning Heroics Hand Champions Third Straight Win
Ottawa, ON – It was a pitching duel early in Ottawa on Saturday night but some clutch hitting from the Ottawa Champions would steal the show.
With the Trois-Rivieres Aigles up by one in the eighth inning, Danny Grauer and Adron Chambers came up huge driving in three runs and sealing the victory for Ottawa.
"I'm very pleased with this win," said Hal Lanier, the Champions manager. "Everyone is picking each other up and if somebody doesn't do it the next hitter is grinding away."
Before the chaos, both Champions' starter Yean Carlos Gil and Aigles' starter Chris Murphy were outstanding.
Gil threw 121 pitches while recording ten strikeouts and allowing two runs. Murphy also allowed two runs while only registering three strikeouts on the day. Neither starting pitcher received a decision.
After getting heavily outscored in the first two games of the series, the Aigles were the first team to get on the board. Brenden Webb led off the top of the third with a solo shot just over the right field wall. It was the first homerun for Trois-Rivieres this season.
Tempers would flare in the top of the fourth, as two members of the Aigles were ejected.
During a Zach Mathieu at-bat, Aigles' manager TJ Stanton was thrown out after arguing with home plate umpire Kevin Mandzuk. In the same at-bat Mathieu struck out and after arguing the call he was also ejected from the ballgame.
Ottawa connected in the next half inning with a Gustavo Pierre RBI single to left field scoring Sebastien Boucher. It was 1-1 after four innings.
Yean Carlos Gil pitched out of a massive jam in the top of the fifth. With the bases-loaded and one out, Gil struck out Javier Herrera and then got Daniel Mateo to hit into an inning-ending groundball out.
Ottawa's Steve Brown came into score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game 2-2.
The following inning Adron Chambers continued his hot start to the season as he ripped a double into the gap in left field. Daniel Bick scored the go-ahead run giving the Champions a 3-2 lead.
However, the Aigles answered right back to take a 4-3 lead. Three straight base runners reached to start the inning loading the bases against relief pitcher James Mulry. Things looked promising as Mulry got a strikeout, however a RBI grounder from Ryan Brockett and a wild pitch allowed two to score.
The theme of the series has been how the Champions have responded when giving up runs. In the bottom of the eighth, Danny Grauer did just that as he drove in two runs with a double over the head of left fielder Trevor Gretzky.
"I was looking for something to hit," said Grauer. "I needed to make up for the run I let in the half-inning before. So I found something to drive and hit it where I wanted."
Adron Chambers drove in another run that inning which increased the lead to 6-4 and completing the comeback.
Victor Beriguete had trouble with the save but he managed to get the job done, picking up his first save of the season. James Mulry (W, 1-0) picked up his first win in relief.
Ottawa and Trois-Rivieres will square of Sunday afternoon, first pitch is at 1:35p.m.